Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis is questioning publicly whether the city should spend millions of dollars to renovate the theater building in Brook Run Park.
“For a theater, that [building] is in the wrong place,” Davis told more than 50 people attending a city-sponsored “town hall” meeting at Georgia Perimeter College on April 29. “There’s not enough parking, not enough night life. It’s in a residential area.”
He called the park “absolutely the worst place for a theater.”
Dunwoody City Council voted on April 13 to seek bids from consultants who would study the feasibility of fixing the deteriorating theater building. Representatives of the Brook Run Conservancy have asked the city to consider the feasibility of saving the structure.
Davis estimated that restoring the theater could cost $5 million and questioned whether that would be a reasonable use of city money. The 50-year-old building hasn’t been used regularly in about two decades, he said.
“We can certainly look at what it would cost to fix … but in my mind, that’s the last place we’d build a theater,” he said.
Davis, who pointed out that other council members may disagree with him, said he and other city officials might consider building a new theater in conjunction with a future city hall. The city may plan to build city office space within the next five years, he said.
He said it might make more sense to locate a theater in the Dunwoody Village area, the Perimeter area or in the Georgetown area, parts of the city where it would be near restaurants and larger areas of parking.
“For $5 million, we could build a theater in the right part of town,” he said.
Lynne Byrd, vice president of the conservancy, said after the town hall that members of the group believe the building can be restored as a working theater. The building, she said, includes areas for stage sets and backdrops and stained glass windows.
“I just think that instead of starting from scratch and spending much more money, we should take the good bones of that theater.” she said.
Other residents argued the building had good acoustics. “It’s a wonderful place…,” resident Barbara Pryor said. “There are a lot of possibilities there.”