An adult Atlanta baseball league will be able to play at Dunwoody facilities, but the decision to allow the play was not unanimous.
At an Oct. 25 meeting, the Dunwoody City Council approved a facilities usage agreement with the Atlanta Mens Adult Baseball League (Atlanta MABL), a metro area men’s baseball league, that would allow the league to use the baseball fields at Brook Run Park. At a Nov. 9 meeting in 2020, the council adopted an Athletic Association Manual that provided a tiered pricing schedule for rentals of Dunwoody’s athletic fields.
The council approved the facilities agreement 6-1, with Councilmember John Heneghan voting against the measure. Heneghan said he did not approve of a non-local organization possibly taking field time away from local sports groups – such as Dunwoody Senior Baseball, which serves middle school-aged students up to players aged 35 – or local high school teams.
“Allowing Metro Atlanta Baseball into scheduling those park spaces will, in my opinion, harm Dunwoody and local area families by selling out our valuable field space to outsiders with no ties to our community,” Heneghan said. “I have a hard time understanding how offering cheap field space to men who drive all over the Atlanta metro area to play, would somehow be on an equal footing as that of my 15-year-old neighbor who bikes to baseball at Brook Run Park.”
Heneghan also said he didn’t think access to the concession stand should be included in facilities agreements. But, during the first read of another agenda item that would renew facilities usage agreements with the rest of the city’s athletic partners, Parks and Recreation Director Brent Walker said that access to the concession building would be limited to Dunwoody Senior Baseball and Rush Union Soccer Club.
“Another organization can come in vend,” Walker said. “They can set up a tent, a table, sell drinks, have a cooler, any of those things on the grounds, but they don’t have access to the concession stand.”
During discussion about the rest of the facilities usage agreements, which will be put on the consent agenda for the council’s Nov. 8 meeting, Councilmember Tom Lambert said the city would prioritize its home leagues when it comes to field space, and that he has been in contact with Dunwoody Senior Baseball leadership to let them know that they will not lose field time because of the new agreement.
“We are prioritizing our home leagues and their availability to use the fields, which includes Dunwoody Senior Baseball,” Lambert said. “It’s difficult to put that in formal language in an agreement, but it is our sincere hope that – for lack of a better term – everyone plays nice, and works for the mutual benefit of all involved.”
In an emailed statement, DSB President Jay Kapp said that DSB has concerns about the facilities agreement with Atlanta MABL.
“We have very limited access to baseball fields outside Dunwoody. This year, more than 90% of DSB league games and practices have been held at the Brook Run Park Baseball Fields. We have been proud to call Dunwoody home since 1975,” Kapp said. “We have shared our concerns with City of Dunwoody staff and elected officials about the new direction they are taking by giving a facility usage agreement to another baseball league.”