A parking lot expansion and the final concept for a new public “lake house” have been approved for Brookhaven’s Murphey Candler Park. 

The Brookhaven City Council approved the conceptual plans at its April 27 meeting. The updates are part of the city’s $40 million park bond, which passed with 60% voter approval in 2018. Of that $40 million, $8.9 million was set aside for improvements to Murphey Candler Park, a 135-acre park at 1551 West Nancy Creek Drive. 

The council had four parking lot designs to choose from. They approved the third option, which will increase the amount of spots from 52 to 100. The plan will remove 42 trees, and add 55 new trees. 

The city first unveiled early drawings of the lake house concept at a Feb. 22 public input meeting. Parks Bond Program Manager Lee Croy said the building was well received during that meeting, and public concern shifted towards the parking lot configuration. 

Because of the public’s interest, the city asked for input on four different parking lot options. In a video presentation released by the city on April 13, Mack Cain, the lead landscape architect for design firm Clark Patterson & Lee, discussed each design.

City spokesperson Burke Brennan said during the public input process for the parking lot, the city received 183 email responses. He said both options two and three were the most popular, but neither one received a majority. 

Option two would have increased parking from spots from 52 to 81 and would have removed 22 trees while adding 41, but option three is the choice the City Council ultimately approved. Cain and Croy both suggested moving forward with option three. 

“I feel best about number three because I think it uses the land the best and it saves the really important part, so the vegetation that we’re all concerned about,” Cain said. “It keeps a wooded feel, a shaded parking lot and it provides more cars.” 

Brennan said in an email that now that the concepts have been approved, design and engineering work can begin for the lake house and parking lot. 

“[Clark Patterson & Lee] will begin that immediately, but this phase is expected to take several months,” he said. “Upon completion, the project will be put out to bid for construction.”