Sue Binkert, left, and Jim Dupree, members of PARC Brookhaven, gather public input for the smaller city parks at a previous “visioning  session.” Parks discussed included Ashford, Georgian Hills and Skyland.
Sue Binkert, left, and Jim Dupree, members of PARC Brookhaven, gather public input for the smaller city parks at a previous “visioning session.” Parks discussed included Ashford, Georgian Hills and Skyland.

Brookhaven residents say they want the parks in their neighborhoods to remain just that – neighborhood parks, but safer and better maintained.

Members of PARC Brookhaven, or the Parks and Recreation Coalition of Brookhaven, recently held “visioning sessions” for the three neighborhood parks in District 2. The meetings were held with support by the city of Brookhaven and the Parks & Recreation Department, and were co-sponsored by District 2 Councilman John Park.

The community sessions were meant to generate priorities for the city’s smaller parks, which are not outlined in great detail in the city’s park master plan.

PARC members Sue Binkert and Jim Dupree told members of City Council on Feb. 24 what residents would like to see in Ashford, Georgian Hills and Skyland parks.

“The consensus we heard is that they want to remain neighborhood parks, just functionally better,” Binkert said. “These neighbors want the parks to stay neighborhood parks — that was the biggest thing we kept hearing over and over.”

Residents want to see improvements to safety, accessibility, maintenance, land restoration, and branding and park identity. PARC members heard residents say repeatedly, “I want to feel safe in these parks,” Binkert said.

In Ashford Park, residents want to see better maintained restrooms, drainage issues resolved, security lighting, a diaper changing station and a policy for the toys – such as removal of broken toys or a storage area.

Dupree said there was disagreement over the toys, which he described as a “lightning rod.” Some residents liked the toys at Ashford Park, but others did not, he said, adding that he was concerned the toys could be a liability.

Citizens recommended addressing safety concerns in the park, providing new playground equipment, creating a walking trail and off-leash dog area, and making improvements to the community building.

In Georgian Hills Park, the group found that residents would like to see the park draw more neighbors in. Moveable soccer goals for pick-up games were recommended, as were a new playground and a community garden.

PARC members said that Georgian Hills residents also recommended a walking path along the park’s creek, that the partial basketball court be refurbished and that drainage issues be addressed.

At Skyland Park, the group found that residents like the tennis courts, soccer fields and wooded areas, but were concerned about homeless people living in the wooded areas and a lack of adequate security lighting.

Those residents also liked the mound located in the park because children like to play on it. They also suggested adding a restroom and community garden.

Ann Marie Quill

Ann Marie Quill is Associate Editor at Reporter Newspapers.