The suggestions covered a lot of ground.

One person wanted more bathrooms in Brookhaven’s parks. Another wanted to feel safer when walking through those parks. Somebody else suggested putting in a zip line through the trees.

Chris Camp, a consultant working with the city of Brookhaven to develop a long-term parks plan, listened attentively to the ideas offered by the 21 residents who gathered at Briarwood Park on April 14 to discuss the direction the city of Brookhaven should take with its parks.

Four times as many residents gathered at Oglethorpe University for a simultaneous discussion.

“Tonight was to give citizens an opportunity to come out and tell us what you like, what needs to be repaired and what needs to be added to the park system,” Camp said.

And the residents had plenty of ideas. Some wanted to see public art in the parks. Others through there should be areas where dogs could run free. Others proposed bike paths, an indoor city pool, an arboretum, a climbing wall, more playground equipment, workout areas, summer camps.

“What about wi-fi?” someone asked.

“Absolutely,” Camp replied.

The consultants plan to take the suggestions and a range of other ideas and use them as they develop a city parks plan. The plan is due to the city in July, Camp said.

Camp told the group at Briarwood that his impression of Brookhaven’s parks was that the system had “good bones,” but need attention and repair.

“I think you’ve got the bones of a good park system,” he said. “I like to say it’s been loved to death, which means it’s been used to death and not had maintenance,” he said.

Residents at the Briarwood gathering were hopeful the city could help the parks. Interest in better parks was one of reasons residents founded the young city.

“I just think the parks need to be improved and make Brookhaven a better place to live and to improve property values,” Gary Friedman said.

Friedman said he was pleased that the discussion at Briarwood touched on improvements at a number of parks spread across the city.

Chad Boles, president of the Briarwood Park Conservancy, said he hoped the planning process will “create a priority list from all the great ideas that come from all the citizens …. so Brookhaven can have a park system for all the city.”

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.

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