Brookhaven, GA – “Prior to November 2013, the city will move forward to purchase all parks and their improvements located within the city limits in order to ready the city to offer parks and recreation services to our citizens,” said Brookhaven’s City Manager, Marie Garrett, in a letter to DeKalb County.
The city has the option of buying Brookhaven’s park land for $100.00 per acre. There are 271 acres of land in Brookhaven’s Parks.
But that’s not the entire story. The city must also purchase the improvements on the park lands, such as tennis courts, swimming pools, recreation centers – all at a cost above and beyond the cost of the land itself. Add to that, the cost of maintenance and upkeep – not to mention any improvements the citizens are expecting – and the number gets to be quite large.
The Carl Vinson Institute (CVI) – when compiling their numbers to include in the Citizens for North Dekalb commissioned study – solicited DeKalb County for the operational costs of the parks and the facilities in the Brookhaven footprint. The number that DeKalb County reported was $480,140.
The number used in the CVI study for Brookhaven was $1,376,492. This proposed annual expenditure, was derived from examining costs the City of Roswell incurs to deliver their high quality Parks system. It’s important to note that the proposed $1.376MM annual operational cost does not include any municipality sponsored recreation programs, and the study assumes non-profit organizations will serve this function – as they do in other municipalities.
One HUGE reason people supported the campaign for the creation of the City of Brookhaven was to have very high quality, well maintained parks – and a notion that Brookhaven would spend as much as $900,000 more annually than DeKalb does.
What can the City actually deliver? Time will tell and the outcome will likely be a product of citizen involvement during City Council meetings, Public Hearings and stepping up to the podium to be heard.
The Governor’s Commission on the City of Brookhaven, Parks and Recreation Committee, spent countless hours compiling information and provided, “A report containing the Executive overview, data on the current inventory, condition, and uses of the parks and recreational facilities, as well as other considerations, for the City of Brookhaven.”
The Parks and Recreation Committee of the Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven, completed an incredibly large scope of work between September 29, 2012 and November 1, 2012. In one month, the Committee has documented a baseline of knowledge and reference material that will serve the City of Brookhaven well in the coming startup year. – Sue Binkert, Citizen Co-Chair