With scooters and wagons and at least one bike-turned-elephant, dozens of children spent a Saturday morning parading up and down the new multi-use trail through Brook Run Park to formally open the controversial concrete path to the public.
“The trail is fantastic,” said Kelly Grant, who walked the path with her husband, Gordon, and two sons, bike-riding Max, 4, and 14-month-old Joe, who, by the end, was sound asleep in a decorated wagon. “It really is beautiful. I’m kind of shocked at how nice it is. I think it will be great for the community.”
Grant said she regularly dropped by Brook Run to walk Max in his stroller when he was younger, and thought the trail offered a great improvement to older paths through the park. She said she was eager to show the trail to her neighbors.
The parade celebrated the opening of the first phase of the trail, a .7-mile stretch that cost the city about $425,000. Work on the second phase of the trail, a 1.2-mile stretch priced at about $440,000, is expected to begin this fall. The completed trail is scheduled to open next spring.
Construction of the trail has been controversial as some residents have complained about the number of trees being removed for the multi-use concrete path.
But families in the opening parade seemed impressed by the pathway.
“It’s a nice trail. A lot hillier than I was expecting,” said Lea Trujillo, who said she walked with, and occasionally pushed, her two bike-riding children, Aniyah and Bo, during the parade.
“What did you like?” she asked Bo.
“Going down the hill,” he said.
“Did you go fast down the hill?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said, “like Turbo!”
Three judges – Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis, former school board member Nancy Jester and Dunwoody Nature Center executive director Alan Mothner – chose winners from among the 43 entrants who registered to compete in the parade for prizes.
Will Starling, son of Dunwoody’s economic development director, Michael Starling, won the “most creative” award for his bicycle, which he decorated with cutout ears and plastic tubing to turn it into an elephant.
Lauren Fitzgerald won the “best theme” award for her “back to school” bike, which she decorated with a large basket filled with school supplies.
And the Grant family took the prize for “best use of color.”
Joe Grant slept through the announcement of the award.