Dunwoody city officials are moving ahead with negotiations to install a “treetop obstacle course” in Brook Run Park.
Mayor Mike Davis and two members of Dunwoody City Council recently visited a similar facility in Gwinnett County, and during the council’s meeting May 27, they indicated they were impressed by what they had seen.
“I went on the course and survived,” Davis said. “I found it incredibly safe, incredibly quiet with 100-plus kids running around. The kids are so concentrated on the tasks, you don’t have that squealing you’d expect. I would go back.”
Treetop Quest, which operates the Gwinnett facility, has asked to install a similar attraction in Dunwoody. The company, the American branch of a company that operates similar facilities in France, has offered to pay Dunwoody 5 percent of the facility’s revenues or $25,000 for use of the Brook Run trees.
The proposed obstacle course features a series of platforms installed around trees that are connected by zip lines, bridges, swings and rope ladders. Treetop Quest wants to set up the course in trees near Peeler Road. Company officials say they will carry $4 million in liability insurance on the facility, Dunwoody Parks Director Brent Walker told the council.
Some residents attending the meeting May 27 questioned the proposal.
Jay Pryor pointed out the course was not included in the city’s plans for Brook Run, and that many recreational facilities proposed for the park, such as volleyball courts, had not been built. “We all know to beware of things that appear to be too good to be true,” he told the council.
After the meeting, Dick Roberts, who lives in the Lakeview Oaks neighborhood nearby, questioned the need for the facility and its potential effects on trees and whether it would increase water runoff into Nancy Creek. “I can’t see how it benefits the community,” he said.
Some council members had questions about the proposal, too. Councilman Denny Shortal asked whether $4 million in insurance coverage would be enough.
Councilman John Heneghan said city officials should try to negotiate some sort of discounts for city residents who use the park, such as passes for church or school groups.
“My concern is the affordability of this event,” he said. “This is city property. There are concerns we are leasing this out for the enjoyment of people who can afford it, and not for all Dunwoody citizens. … The amenity should be there for all Dunwoody citizens.”
Davis and Councilman Terry Nall, who also visited the facility in Gwinnett, appeared enthusiastic about the facility. Nall said he felt skeptical about the proposal before his visit, but left a fan.
“It was impressive to me how they do it and how the cables are attached to the trees,” he said. “It all sounds like zip lines, but … each segment from tree to tree is a different challenge.”
Like Davis, Nall said he was surprised at how quiet the participants were. “They were focused on the challenge,” he said.