After any breakup, there’s an awkward period of wrangling over what stuff belongs to whom. And it’s no different between DeKalb County and the city of Brookhaven.
Brookhaven took over the maintenance and programming of the 11 parks in its borders just after Labor Day. But the city and county disagreed over who has the rights to the furniture and equipment in the parks.
Some neighborhoods groups and Friends of the Parks organizations reported that county officials came and packed up chairs, score boards and swim lanes from parks such as Briarwood and Murphey Candler.
Mayor J. Max Davis said the city believes those items belong in the parks.
“Some of those things that had been donated by the community for specific use at those pools had been taken up by county workers,” Davis said. “Our position is that naturally, anything that was in the park and had been used in that park for any period of time belongs with that park and should stay with that park.”
Bob Lundsten, chief of staff for DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer, has been working with the city to help retrieve the items.
He said county workers were given orders to take the equipment and furniture because Brookhaven doesn’t own the parks.
“According to state laws, Brookhaven is entitled to the facilities, but not the furniture or the furnishings,” Lundsten said.
Lundsten said many things have been returned to the parks. He is waiting on a complete list of missing items from Brookhaven’s city manager and City Council.
“I think I’m going to get continued cooperation from county officials,” Lundsten said.
Brookhaven City Manager Marie Garrett said she is working with DeKalb Executive Assistant and Chief Operating Officer Zach Williams to come to an agreement over what belongs to the city and what belongs to the county.
“The real matter to all of this is what furniture was removed and what furniture is coming back. That’s what we’re both working on,” Garrett said. “I’m confident we’ll reach some resolution to this.”
Chad Boles, president of the Friends of Briarwood Park, said crews came to the park to collect equipment and furniture just before Labor Day.
“County personnel just showed up and removed everything in the rec center, loaded it all on trailers and trucks and drove away,” Boles said. “But I think most of it is back.”
Boles called the incident a “bump in the road.” The things that were taken and later replaced weren’t of significant value, he said.
“It was very contentious, and it was mean and nasty and ugly, but it was a month ago, and from what I can tell they’ve made it right,” Boles said. “There’s no hard feelings.”
Garrett said the city is hoping to purchase the parks in the next month or so. She said attorneys are working on the deeds, and the total cost hasn’t been determined yet.
“We’re working on acquiring the parks now,” Garrett said.