I am writing as president of Dunwoody Senior Baseball (DSB). Since 1975, we have operated baseball programs for youth 13 to 18 years old on two ballfields in Dunwoody Park. On Oct. 5, the city of Dunwoody and DeKalb County Schools announced plans to rebuild Austin Elementary School on those ballfields and move us to Peachtree Charter Middle School (PCMS).
City Council has held two public hearings and one regular council meeting in the past two weeks about the plan, seeking input from the community. (“Residents battle over location for new baseball fields,” Dunwoody Reporter, Oct. 28.) From those meetings, some things have become evident:
1) Austin Elementary enjoys overwhelming support, including from DSB. Conditions at the school now are overcrowded and dangerous. Ideally, we’d love to stay where we are forever, but recognize the need for progress, and are willing to do our part to make that happen. Austin needs to be rebuilt.
2) PCMS teachers and parents, especially the physical education teachers and soccer coach, don’t want baseball fields at PCMS. Neither do we. In fact, almost no one does, but almost everyone, including DSB, sees the need for multi-purpose fields where the baseball fields are now proposed. Daily carpool and numerous other school activities would have a detrimental impact on our ability to operate our programs as we do today. The city and DeKalb Schools say we will “work it out,” but with us having averaged four events a day, every day, from Feb. 1 through Aug. 31, they have been unable to tell us how we are going to do that. Which programs do they want us to close?
3) Brook Run has the room to recreate as much as possible our current setting at Dunwoody Park. The City Council committed to keep DSB whole and told us we would end up with at least what we have today. As above, the PCMS site would not enable us to accomplish that, but the so-called “back corner” of Brook Run would. We understand the city’s desire to finish its Parks Master Plan, but believe that baseball fields, whether at PCMS or Brook Run, will be included. Since it makes infinitely more sense to put multi-purpose fields at PCMS, Brook Run becomes the logical place to put two new ballfields. The community support for this is broad-based, even among Austin and PCMS parents.
City Council votes on Nov. 14, 6 p.m., at City Hall. We hope everyone will attend and express their support for rebuilding Austin and for moving DSB to Brook Run. In the meantime, you can write to the Mayor and City Council at the following email addresses: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to everyone that has written an email, shown up at meetings and expressed support for DSB.