Brookhaven is looking to put itself on the map.
With festivals, community events and an Office of Tourism on the way, the young city is looking to create buzz and attract visitors.
Plans for the Office of Tourism are still being finalized, but Brookhaven City Manager Marie Garrett said officials are already getting started.
“We’re promoting our festivals and events that are occurring in the city right now,” Garrett said.
Mayor J. Max Davis introduced the new office in a town hall meeting Sept. 19.
“It’s not just some new bureaucratic shell,” Davis said. “We have a requirement that some of our money is spent on tourism… It’ll probably just be one person to allocate those dollars, and make sure people come to Brookhaven, and our hotels are promoted and know what’s going on, whether it’s festivals or food trucks.”
Currently, the office is being housed under the city manager’s office, Garrett said. But she isn’t sure whether it will remain there or become an independent agency.
A portion of the money collected through hotel/motel taxes in any city is required to be spent on tourism and promotion. Many cities have an agency known as a convention and visitors bureau to do that.
Garrett said Brookhaven’s Office of Tourism will be similar.
“We’re formulating what the office is going to entail and what the duties and responsibilities are,” Garrett said. “It’s going to be all about promoting Brookhaven as a place to stay, a place to come and visit, to recreate, a place for businesses to have conferences.”
The Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce is also working to promote the city.
The chamber organized the Roots n’ Brews festival in Brookhaven Park Oct. 5. The festival featured live folk and bluegrass bands, food and beer, and raised money for the city’s parks.
Arthur Freeman, executive director of the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber’s mission is to promote the businesses and livability of the city of Brookhaven. But events like festivals are a good way to partner with the city.
“We want to create activities and create a reason for people to want to come to Brookhaven,” Freeman said.
Fall is a busy time for Brookhaven. Through the end of the October, the city is hosting the “Food Truck Roundup” every Wednesday evening in Blackburn Park, featuring food trucks, music and activities for kids. The second annual Brookhaven Chili Cookoff, featuring professional and amateur chili cooking teams, is scheduled for Oct. 12 on Apple Valley Road. Also on Apple Valley Road, the Brookhaven Arts Festival is planned for Oct. 19-20.
“It’s all part of a program to create us as a very fun place to come,” Freeman said.
But not everyone is thrilled about all the activities.
At a town hall meeting Sept. 19, several residents complained about traffic around the food truck events and concern about upcoming festivals.
One parent with a child at Montgomery Elementary School, just down Ashford Dunwoody Road from where the food truck events are held at Blackburn Park, asked the city to reconsider the location.
“In terms of the food trucks and festivals: Love it. Do it. Don’t do it on Wednesday night at rush hour traffic,” he said.
A Kendrick Road resident told city council that people don’t like dealing with the special events near their homes.
“It’s really nice to have food trucks and festivals to go to, but no one wants them in their yard or neighborhood,” he said. “The people who do live on 10th Street, that’s great, but we live in nice, quiet neighborhoods, and we’d like to keep it that way.”