The city of Dunwoody is considering significant rate hikes and attendance caps for private events, festivals and 5K runs at Brook Run Park to bring its fees in line with neighboring cities.

Brook Run Park was the site for 41 special events last year, totaling more than 30,500 people, and 87 private facility rentals. But the city only received about $32,000 last year in event rental fee revenue.

Kristen Rezac and her dog Co Co enter the costume contest at the third annual Rescue Dog Olympics March 17, one of many events held in Brook Run Park. Such events could see fee hikes and attendance caps under a city proposal. (Phil Mosier)

In 2016, 32 special events were hosted at Brook Run Park and 77 private facility rentals, bringing in slightly more than $23,000 in rental fee revenue.

The City Council learned at its retreat in February one reason Brook Run Park is so popular with such events is due to the city’s much cheaper pricing compared to neighboring cities. Assistant City Manager Jessica Guinn presented the council with the idea of possibly raising fees.

Currently, a sponsor of a small 5K race would pay the city about $1,600 to use Brook Run Park – and $900 of that is a refundable deposit. The proposed rate hikes include a separate 5K fee that jumps to $3,525.

No decisions have been made on changing the fee schedule and no timetable is in place for when that might take place, according to city officials.

In 2017, average attendance for festivals was 1,600 with an average of $1,150 fees for each. For 5Ks held last year at Brook Run Park, there was an average of 524 attendees and about $955 in fees for each, Guinn told the council in February.

Guinn and staff suggested council cap special events at two per month and have tiered pricing for anticipated number of attendees. For example, a small event would include less than 400 people, a medium event be for more than 400 but less than 800, and a large festival would be for more than 800 and less than 1,200 attendees.

Recommendations also include having a maximum number of festival attendees at 1,200 attendees, other than large annual events already scheduled to take place at the park such, as Lemonade Days and the Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival, she said.

Capping attendance can help lessen wear on the park and especially help with traffic control on the busy North Peachtree Road where the main entrance of the park is located.

For 5Ks, city staff is also recommending capping attendees at 500, with an exemption for larger races already scheduled to use the park, including the annual Tartan Trot and Daffodil Dash.

The current rate schedule to use Brook Run Park for an event with less than 300 people comes up to a total of about $1,600. Of that total, $800 is damage deposit fees that can be refunded.

For events with more than 300 people, the current rate structure charges about $2,450. This includes up to $800 in refundable damage deposits.

Private facility rentals at Brook Run Park (pavilion and event field) are a flat $100 fee. Dunwoody-based nonprofits also get a fee discount.

Guinn also outlined fees charged by neighboring cities for use of its parks. In Chamblee, there is a $1,250 flat fee for events. The city of Johns Creek charges $3,000 for a nonprofit group to use its amphitheater and charges for-profit and commercial companies a $5,000 fee. The city of Roswell charges $1,200 for small events; $1,600 for large events and a $2,000 flat fee for road race with no more than 250 runners allowed. Surrounding cities also do not offer refundable deposits, she said.

The fees would not include city-sponsored events, such as Movie on the Meadow or MLK Jr. Day of Service, nor do they include events such as Lemonade Days and Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays, according to city officials.

The proposed fee scheduled presented at the February retreat:

  • Small festival with a maximum of 400 people: $1,000
    rental fee, $300 permit fee, $900 deposit, for a total of $2,200.
  • A medium-sized festival with 400 to 800 people would
    pay $1,500 facility rental fee, $425 permit fee and $1,100
    deposit for a total of $3,025.
  • A large festival with 800 to 1,200 people would pay a
    $2,000 facility rental fee, $550 permit fee and $1,300 deposit for
    a total of $3,850.
  • 5Ks and other runs and walks would be allowed a maximum of
    500 participants, pay a $2,000 facility rental fee, a $425 permit
    fee and $1,100 deposit for a total of $3,525.

Dyana Bagby

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