After much deliberation, the Dunwoody City Council has agreed to revamp Dunwoody Village Parkway.
The city has received federal grant money to upgrade the road. The plan calls for reducing the road from four lanes to two, removing the landscaped median and adding sidewalks, bike lanes, lighting and other elements to make the area more accessible to pedestrians.
Though the project was included in the Dunwoody Village Master Plan, several City Council members have expressed concerns with the $2.3 million cost and some of the major changes that are proposed.
But at the council’s Aug. 27 meeting, the Dunwoody business community came out in support of the plan.
“After reviewing all of the alternatives and the reasons why, the board of directors [of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce] has decided not only to endorse the parkway modification but to encourage the city to start the project as soon as possible,” the chamber said in a statement.
Ken Wright, a business owner and the former mayor of Dunwoody, addressed the council for the first time since leaving office in 2011. He said the changes to the road would be boon for economic development.
“I believe this is a game- changer for Dunwoody Village, just as Project Renaissance is a game-changer for Georgetown,” Wright said.
Dunwoody resident Joe Seconder urged the council to approve the road project to help make Dunwoody Village into a more thriving civic area.
“Sandy Springs is about to spend $25 [million] to $60 million on a new city center. That’s just a couple miles away,” said Joe Seconder. “The seven of you tonight get to decide what’s going to be in the headlines tomorrow. Send a strong signal that Dunwoody is investing in the community and is open for business.”
Councilwoman Adrian Bonser said she would like to see more involvement from Dunwoody Village property owners. She asked that City Manager Warren Hutmacher ask landowners to donate right of way for the project.
“If we’re improving their property value, it makes sense to ask them to donate right of way,” she said.
Terry Nall, who submitted an alternative design for the road, said he has issues with cost of the project as well as some of the proposals.
“In short, I’m not prepared to give up parkway median for dedicated bike lanes,” Nall said.
Denis Shortal said he thinks the improvements are important to create opportunities for families to walk to Dunwoody Village.
“Do we want to move forward? Do we want to enhance areas of our town … or do we do nothing?” Shortal asked. “If you do nothing you fail.”
Andre Koleszar, vice president of Regency Centers, the owner of Dunwoody Village, told the council he is excited about the project’s long-term potential.
“We just want the best shopping experience for our tenants and for our patrons,” he said. “I think you guys have got the right idea.”