Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst says his city’s future includes electric police cars, bigger festivals and an improved park system.

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst.

Ernst spoke about the topics in the latest episode of “3 Questions,” a Reporter Extra podcast.

Brookhaven is testing a Tesla electric car as a police cruiser in a pilot program. Ernst said the city currently spends about a quarter-million dollars a year just on gas for police cars, while an electric fleet would have negligible costs and less maintenance. He said that unlike a few other cities that have used electric cop cars as “greenwashing” publicity items, the city is intent on have a real electric fleet.

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival in March saw a big increase in estimated attendance, up to 40,000. Ernst discussed how the festival was so popular that it might have become a victim of its own success if it had not coincided with Spring Break. He discusses how the city aims to combine booking, advertising and scheduling to make future festivals bigger yet manageable.

In other parks news, the city is completing final designs for system-wide parks improvements, finessing visions and master plans created through a series of community meetings and funded through a controversial, voter-approved $40 million bond. Ernst outlined the process and what might or might not change as the engineering details come in.

To hear the full “3 Questions” Reporter Extra podcast with Ernst, click here.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.