Final Master Plans for all the Parks except for Brookhaven Park were presented to the City Council at its Work Session yesterday, February 9. Liz Cole of Greenberg Farrow, the engineering firm that the City contracted with to create the plans, reported that the plan for Brookhaven Park was not included in the presentation for a couple of reasons. First, at the time the plan was started, there was a strong sense the park would be acquired soon; however, those negotiations have not come full circle. Second, there was difficulty creating acceptable programming for the site. She indicated that the location of the DeKalb Services building, an area suitable for parking but unavailable, made it hard to add parking to the park in a location acceptable to everyone. Further, there are structures that need to be looked at more closely. She noted that there exists a lot of pressure on the park by multiple users and the size of the park makes it hard to accommodate all the users’ needs at this time. Ms. Cole pointed out that while the draft plan provided for two off leash dog areas, there was feedback from some in the community that the areas were not big enough to accommodate their needs.
Councilman Bates Mattison expressed a desire to move forward with a phased plan that worked around DeKalb Services and focused immediately on improving the back portion of the park so that users could have certainty around what the park would look like. This conversation evolved into a discussion about the ownership of the Park. Brookhaven City Attorney Chris Balch reported that DeKalb County is not willing to transfer the back portion of the Park without an agreement on the front portion and there does not currently appear to be a solution acceptable to both parties for the front half of the park. Therefore, at this time, no improvements can be made to the park due to the City not owning the land.
Greenberg Farrow also presented budgets for each of the other park plans presented that totaled approximately $28 million. For detail, see coverage provided in The Brookhaven Post.