As Dunwoody approaches its 10th anniversary this December, the mayor says the state of the city is strong, but there is still more to do.
“The future is bright,” Mayor Denis Shortal told a crowd of some 300 people gathered Feb. 22 at Crowne Plaza Ravinia Ravinia Hotel for the annual State of the City event. “We’ve come a long way … but we still have a ways to go.”
More traffic improvements, paving, fixes to storm sewers and upgrades to the city’s parks are on the horizon, he said.
The city’s 2018 budget includes $3.3 million for paving and Shortal said he will ask City Council to add $400,000.
Improvements to the Mount Vernon Road and Vermack Road intersection that has been five years in the works is now underway. Work began this month, including the chopping down of some 150 trees. The project includes adding sidewalks, concrete islands for pedestrian safety, bike lanes and additional turn lanes on both roads.
Intersection improvements to Spaulding Drive and Chamblee-Dunwoody Road are planned for 2019 and in 2020, the city is slated to begin improvements to the Tilly Mill Road and Mount Vernon Road intersection, Shortal said.
Other ways the city continues to tackle the notorious traffic congestion is signalizing its traffic lights, he said.
The city’s stormwater pipes and runoff continue to be the city’s largest financial liability, Shortal said, but the city is dedicated to testing the system every five years and clearing out its clogged pipes.
Parks and recreation continue to be a priority for the city, with the construction of two new baseball fields adjacent to Brook Run Park and Peachtree Charter Middle School slated to be completed in early March, he said.
The city also has $3.3 million remaining from a DeKalb County parks bond settlement that it will use toward adding amenities and improvements to Brook Run Park, including two large multiuse athletic fields.
Shortal ticked off many of the city’s accomplishments in 2017, including the purchase of the new City Hall at 4800 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Total cost for the 4,800-square-foot building including buildout and buyout of the tenants with offices in the building came to $12.65 million, Shortal said.
That is being paid off with a $9.9 million loan and $2.75 million from the city surplus.
Shortal also praised the recent voter-approved 1 percent special local option sales tax (SPLOST), which is expected to raise about $7 million a year for the next six years for Dunwoody to use on transportation (84 percent), public safety (14 percent) and capital repair projects (2 percent).
The Equalization Homestead Option Sales Tax (EHOST) that was tied to the SPLOST vote means 100 percent of EHOST funding goes to property tax relief. For a homeowner in Dunwoody with a $466,500 house, that means a property tax savings of $642 a year, Shortal said.
As part of the event, the city’s Sustainability Committee named bicycle advocate Joe Seconder its 2017 Sustainable Hero of the Year and also named Saint Luke’s Presbyterian Church’s Green Team its first Corporate Sustainable Hero Award for the electronic recycling events it holds for the city each year.