A loose coalition of citizens upset by what they believe is abuse and neglect of Brook Run Park has organized a new group intended to protect and preserve the park’s natural environment.
Meeting at the home of Dunwoody Sustainability Commission member Bobbi Sedam on Jan. 26, 14 Dunwoody residents formed Friends of Brook Run Park.
“The city has spent money on the children’s playground and the skate park, but other than that the whole park is a dump,” said John Fleckenstein, who has lived in Dunwoody for 37 years. “From the time when the county owned the park and until now under city ownership, I don’t believe any government entity has cared about the park.”
The catalyst for forming the group is the city’s plan to build a multi-use concrete trail through the park, which will result in the removal of 337 trees in Phase 1 of the two-phase construction.
But residents attending the Jan. 26 meeting voiced frustration with other concerns about the condition of the park.
They said those concerns are:
- Asphalt and creosote timbers have been dumped into a storm drainage area that flows into West Nancy Creek;
- The park is being used as a city maintenance facility that has resulted in increased truck traffic in the park;
- A 292-page tree study by Arborguard stating that significant tree loss will occur in the dog park area due to problems with water erosion and compacted soil;
- Some bridges are dilapidated and unsafe;
- Some sidewalks are broken and hazardous;
- The theater building needs repair.
Bob Mullen, the city’s marketing and public relations director said in an email that the city is addressing various facility, access and repair issues throughout Brook Run Park as part of ongoing park maintenance and in line with the Brook Run park master plan. The theater building is not open to the public and proper preparations will be made to ensure the building is up to code if it is opened to the public at some point in the future, Mullen wrote.
Nine of the 14 people attending the Jan. 26 meeting joined the group, which they decided would be independent of several other citizen groups, including the Brook Run Conservancy and Save Dunwoody.
The newly formed Friends of Brook Run Park took several immediate actions at the meeting to address their concerns.
The first was to draft a petition to Mayor Mike Davis and City Council members requesting that the city return to its original plans for an 8-foot trail rather than the current plan for a trail 12 feet wide.
“There is no evident justification to spend $420,000 versus $132,000 and destroy a significant portion of the forest canopy in Brook Run Park with a 12-foot concrete trail with 48 percent not following the original 8-foot asphalt trail,” the petition says. “Therefore, the undersigned hereby request the return to the original Department of Natural Resources trail grant submission for the renovation of the existing 8-foot asphalt trail.”
The group’s plan is to collect signatures in face-to-face visits with friends and neighbors and ask them to send copies of the petition to their friends and interested groups. They have also posted the petition on the Internet. It can be signed online at:
Jeff Coghill created a Friends of Brook Run Park Dunwoody Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/361039270670116/) after the meeting. Kevin Corcoran, who chaired the meeting, said he has reserved the domain name “FriendsofBrookRunPark.org” for a website that will be launched soon.
The residents meeting at Sedam’s house also decided that Friends of Brook Run Park would have annual membership dues of $10 to cover nominal expenses. They also decided the group would accept additional contributions for operating expenses and for the costs of possible legal actions they may feel might be necessary in the future.
After volunteering one another repeatedly for leadership roles at the Jan. 26 meeting, the group elected officers to serve a three-month term. The officers are: Bobbi Sedam, president emeritus; Kevin Corcoran, president; Jay Pryor, treasurer; John and Mary Sladky, secretary; Jeff and Carey Coghill, communications.
Membership is open. If you are interested in joining, contact Pryor at firstname.lastname@example.org.