Brent Walker, Dunwoody Parks and Recreation Manager, center, leads city officials, council members and other members of the community in walking the 0.7 miles of finished trail in Brook Run Park on June 20.

City officials opened up the controversial Brook Run Park trail for walking tours one recent evening. Residents remained divided on the project.

“It’s awesome,” said Stephen Suba.

Suba and his wife Janine Suba live nearby and they regularly take walks through Brook Run. They welcomed the addition of the 12-foot-wide, concrete, multi-use path through the park, saying it made parts of the park feel safer and more accessible. “It’s nice,” she said.

But Hilbert Margol, whose home abuts from the park, worries that the trail will mean more runoff and flooding for homes near his.

The city’s engineers say the drainage system being installed will handle the runoff once the trail is in place. City officials plan to widen an existing detention pond at Brook Run, and the city’s engineering studies show no increase in water leaving the park, said city Public Works Director Michael Smith. “We’re actually over-compensating,” he said.

From left, Councilman Terry Nall, City Manager Warren Hutmacher and Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan take the tour.

Margol isn’t convinced. “That’s impossible,” he said. “I remember some of the top engineers in the world saying the Titanic couldn’t sink. We know what happened.”

City officials say the first phase of the trail, which is about 0.7-mile long, is 90 percent to 95 percent complete. Work begins on the 1.1-mile second phase in the fall. The second phase is expected to cost about $450,000, Smith said. The first phase cost about $425,000, he said.

The work seemed worthwhile to Kelly and Jeremy Bell, who say they regularly walk in the park. They thought the trail offered a place they could walk that was away from traffic and surrounded by towering trees.

“We’re excited,” Kelly Bell said.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.