The city of Brookhaven officially has taken over maintenance of the 11 parks within its borders.
Under the terms of an intergovernmental agreement with DeKalb County, Brookhaven assumed control of the parks Sept. 3.
On Aug. 27, Brookhaven City Council authorized an emergency contract to maintain the parks through the end of the year. City Manager Marie Garrett said the city would need the additional help to mow grass, clean bathrooms and maintain park facilities until a full-time parks director is hired.
“Your community has very high expectations of their parks,” Garrett said.
As part of negotiations with DeKalb County, the city agreed to take on the parks maintenance two months earlier than planned, putting the city in “triage,” Garrett said. The city began the search for a parks and recreation director this month, and Garrett is interviewing the top candidates for the position, officials said.
City Council voted to give Garrett the authority to authorize a parks maintenance contract that would last through the end of the year, not to exceed a cost of $22,000 per month.
On Aug. 13, members of the Brookhaven City Council and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement that called for the city to take control of the parks Sept. 3. Under the agreement, the city also reimbursed the county $3.2 million for the police and parks services the county has provided to Brookhaven since its incorporation.
To celebrate acquiring the parks, Brookhaven planned to host a gathering of food trucks at Blackburn Park on Sept. 4. The food trucks are scheduled to return to the park each Wednesday evening through the end of October.
City officials said they hope the events will get residents excited about the parks, and encourage residents to interact. Each week, the event will feature a different variety of dinner and dessert vendors, music and activities for kids.
Better parks and recreation services were among the top priorities for proponents of forming the city of Brookhaven. Droves of volunteers helped the Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven audit the parks within the city and compile a report detailing needs in the parks.
These parks supporters are happy that the city will now be able to begin its own parks and recreation program.
“We’re hoping to stay very involved in the parks system. I’ve already offered my support to the Brookhaven City Council,” said Tom Reilly, a parks volunteer. “I look forward to meeting the new parks and rec director, for sure.”
Terrell Carstens, a volunteer for the Governor’s Commission parks committee, said she is looking forward to the city creating a more cohesive parks system.
“We’ve got some great parks people don’t even go to or know about,” Carstens said. “Hopefully with the new logo and plans for signs and benches it will unify our parks and help pull them together too.”
Carstens said she is excited about the city creating a parks master plan as well.
“Once you get in them, Lynwood Park is fabulous, Blackburn Park I love … There’s just so much that can be done with them,” Carstens said. “I can’t wait.”