A group of residents braved the morning frigid temperatures of Saturday, Jan. 13, to raise their concerns to city officials about the approximate 40-foot stadium light poles installed for the new Dunwoody baseball fields adjacent to Brook Run Park and Peachtree Charter School. Several said they were concerned bright lights from the new poles and noise from the new fields could hurt their quality of life.
Mayor Denis Shortal, City Councilmembers John Heneghan and Pam Tallmadge as well as Parks and Recreation Director Brent Walker braved the cold to meet at the corner of Barclay Drive and North Peachtree Road with some 10 residents who live near the middle school and now the new baseball fields. They were there to address such concerns recently raised on social media as well as extensive emails with city leaders.
Questions centered around tree buffers and concerns about late-night baseball games with stadium lighting casting bright light into their nearby homes. Other residents also said they were concerned to learn that future baseball games could go as late at 11 p.m., with potential loud noises and bright lights shining into the windows of their nearby homes past their usual bed times.
Walker explained that on Monday, Jan. 15, as part of the city’s MLK Day of Service, local volunteers are teaming up with Trees Atlanta to plant more than 50 trees, including native species such as oak and maple and other trees, in between North Peachtree Road and Barclay Road, as an immediate screen for neighbors from the fields still being built. The new trees are part of a first phase to replace the 300 trees cut down as part of development of the baseball fields, he said.
The new trees to be planted Monday are intended to provide an immediate buffer between the fields and neighbors before Dunwoody Senior Baseball league play begins next month. The trees in the first phase will be small, but future plans included planting more trees with the help of Trees Atlanta, possibly up to 20-feet tall, Walker said.
Georgia Power is expected to energize the stadium lights in the next few weeks and Walker said he would meet again with neighborhood residents to test the lights to see where any light spill occurs. After noting where the light spillage happens, Walker said plans would then be made to plant some 20-foot tall trees in the area to so to provide light blockage.
Brian Mailman, who lives directly across from the baseball fields, said he wanted to find a way to work with the city to mitigate any noise or light pollution before the Dunwoody Senior Baseball league begins next month after moving from its homes for decades at Dunwoody Park.
The first phase is the Monday plantings, Walker said, and a future second phase of plantings with the much taller trees are expected to begin at a future date to be determined. The first phase is intended to provide a quick fix to providing a simple buffer between the fields and North Peachtree Road to hide the construction and future fields somewhat from nearby neighbors.
But with games expected to run as late as 11 p.m., some residents were asking if the cut off times could be changed to perhaps 9 p.m. Mayor Denis Shortal said the 11 p.m. time has always been the cut-off time for Dunwoody Senior Baseball leagues, although most games finished by 10 p.m.
Shortal also noted the response from city officials to meet on a Saturday morning shows their dedication to listening to resident concerns and responding in a way that would mitigate any potential problems as much as possible so as not to disrupt their typical tranquil existence.
The two new fields will serve as the new home for Dunwoody Senior Baseball and will have rectangular multi-purpose field overlay/striping complete with a durable all-season synthetic turf. The fields will be set-up for shared use by Peachtree Charter Middle School for the school’s gym and outdoor classes.
The facility will also include a new concession building, new bathrooms, a playground, bleacher stands, batting cages and parking.
The fields will be located at the corner of North Peachtree Road and Barclay Drive, an 8-acre property adjacent to Peachtree Charter Middle School. A new bus turnaround and drop off with ADA access and handicap parking will also be included at the new site.
The Dunwoody mayor and City Council voted July 10 to spend up to $5.7 million for the design and construction of two new baseball fields adjacent to Brook Run Park. The new fields being built on property once belonging to Peachtree Charter Middle School are to replace the current baseball fields in Dunwoody Park used by Dunwoody Senior Baseball that were sold as part of a land swap to the DeKalb County Board of Education.
The school district will then build a new 900-seat Austin Elementary where the former baseball fields are located, in Dunwoody Park and adjacent to the Dunwoody Nature Center, set to open in 2019. The city will then get the property where the current Austin Elementary is located to rebuild into a park space.