Vacant storefronts, empty lots, high rents, overemphasis on surface parking, non-pedestrian-friendly roads and walkways, and of course BANKS… these are all descriptions that accurately depict the current state of affairs at the city of Dunwoody’s core: the Dunwoody Village.

The Master Plan for Dunwoody Village has been around for so long now that I’m beginning to wonder if development in the area will ever in fact materialize, or is it just another pipe dream similar to Dunwoody desiring to have its own school district?

At least two community input meetings have occurred within the last year that focused on the Dunwoody Village Master Plan. Fast forward months later, and the latest update is that the city has hired an outside firm to rewrite the code for the Dunwoody Village Overlay, of which it is projected that it will take nine or more months to complete. Nine months to update code? Seriously?

Is the city merely kicking the can down the road, waiting for a recession to make considerable investment in Dunwoody Village? Or is the city overly prioritizing investment in the immediate Perimeter Center area? Recent approval of new development projects — including the redevelopment of the old McCormick & Schmick’s and Brio restaurant site, as well as the redevelopment of the old City Hall area — certainly suggest the latter.

I am not ignorant to the fact that change takes time, but how much longer will Dunwoody residents have to wait in order to get what they truly want in their own neighborhood? For a city that claims to be transparent, actual economic development in Dunwoody Village is still very much a black box. Road and park improvements are very welcome, but why leave the Village behind?

As Dunwoody citizens we must ultimately ask: Do we want the Dunwoody Village to be known as a local passerby stop for bank deposits, groceries and pizza? Or do we want it to be a true city destination?

This election year, please elect those into office who will prioritize the Dunwoody Village so that we can enjoy our city’s core.

Aren’t you tired of commuting to Roswell, Chamblee or Alpharetta to get your lifestyle and entertainment fixes?

Ryan Esslinger


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