Supporters of saving the theater at Brook Run Park made a dramatic last-gasp appeal to the Dunwoody City Council at its Oct. 24 meeting to save the building from being bulldozed possibly as soon as this week.

More than 20 supporters of saving the theater and having it renovated into a performing arts and community center filed up the center aisle of the city council chambers and dropped checks into a manila envelope held by Danny Ross, president of the Brook Run Conservancy.

Danny Ross, center, accepts checks from attendees at the Oct. 24 Dunwoody City Council meeting who want to save the theater at Brook Run Park. (Photo Dyana Bagby)

Ross said in an email after the meeting that more than $114,000 was raised by 24 people ranging in age from 3 to 85.

Ross asked people to attend the council meeting and make the donations in response to Councilmember’s Doug Thompson’s quote in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about the theater saga that, “If a check came in tomorrow from an outside person, we’d have us a new theater.”

“Imagine in one night — and the fundraising has not yet begun. Just think what can happen if we could all work together,” Ross said in an email sent to the City Council after the Oct. 24 meeting and provided to the Reporter.

“There is support in the entire community for this endeavor. And there is also anger in our community that you have made this decision without ever asking a single question or given one reason why you are rushing to demolish this building,” Ross stated in the email. “[Monday night’s] show of support is only the beginning of what could happen — if only you would allow it.”

The council voted in July to bulldoze the theater and last month approved spending up to $227,000 to demolish the building. Contractors are currently removing asbestos from the site and plans are to tear down the building possibly as soon as this week.

Stained glass windows have been removed from the theater at Brook Run Park. (Photo Dyana Bagby)

Historical stained glass windows from the theater building’s chapel were removed in the past two weeks and are being stored for potential future use.

“I beg you to please not to tear it down,” Ross said at the council meeting. “Please, please, don’t tear that building down.”

Ross said the money would be returned to donors if the theater is torn down. “These are considered restricted funds and can only be used for the purpose they were donated for,” he said.

City Council members did not discuss the issue with Ross at the meeting. In the past, however, some have said they didn’t believe the park was the right place for a community theater. Others have said that because no money was ever raised to save the building in the years-long effort to preserve it that they could not justify saving it.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.

11 replies on “Dunwoody Brook Run theater supporters make dramatic last-ditch effort to save building”

  1. Look at the photo! The average age is 80 years old. You guys are on too many MEDS. If you went to the city council meeting a month ago, they voted to demolish it 6-1. The windows are gone and so are your dreams. Dump that $114k into the bleeding Stage Door Players, they need the money! To think Danny was a council member. Geez…

  2. Why doesn’t The City make a good-faith gesture in the Brook Run Theater demo by paying for the asbestos removal and interior cleanup of the building, then putting the physical destruction of the structure off for 1 year?

    This would be linked to the Brook Run Conservancy getting sufficient funds to renovate and operate the facility. If the City shows a willingness to commit the necessary funds to abate asbestos, mitigate mold, and secure the building shell, the facility is more attractive as a brownfield venture.

    The cost of maintaining a shell for another year would be minimal. The contingency funding in the project could cover the remobilization costs to the demolition contractor, and the BRC can either succeed or fail in the quest for justifying keeping the structure.

    The discussion regarding location, park usage, etc. are generally matters of personal opinion. If the money can be found, the theater can be saved.

  3. The woodstock theatre is not in a commercial area, the kudzu theatre was in a plaza but closed down, bulloch hall is not in a commercial area, roswell theatre is in a park and not near a commercial area, and alliance theatre is not next to a commercial area (walking wise). The only theatres in commercial areas with restaurants are in times square, boston, san francisco, chicago.

  4. The council is absolutely out of line by not listening to the citizens of Dunwoody! There is no reason to not allow more time to raise funds to save the building!

  5. Look to Sandy Springs, our local government has made it profitable to tear up the community. Now our city is indistinguishable from any sprawl anywhere in America. Don’t let Dunwoody to be equally void of architectural touchstones.

  6. The Rylander Theater in Americus, Ga had trees growing inside and no seats, but former President Jimmy Carter helped the citizens keep the theater from destruction by signing books there and telling people that visited how he remembered coming to the theater when he was young. It is now a beautiful theater and used for many events. When Dunwoody has a theater, it is a shame to tear it down and not invest in the treasure they have. I have seen Dunwoody City Council members and citizens attend the concerts in Sandy Springs. Why don’t they develop what they have and use it.

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