Brookhaven, GA – Shortly after Labor Day, the City of Brookhaven says that they will take over Parks and Recreation from DeKalb County. As part of this takeover, it will be imperative to start with a solid plan for the future of Brookhaven’s 270 acres of park land.
According to a Murphey Candler Park Conservancy Newsletter (Fall 2013) article written by Brookhaven District 1 City Councilwoman, Rebecca Chase-Williams, the City included $100,000 in the budget for the Parks Plan alone.
“By the end of summer, the city will begin the process of launching our Comprehensive Plan. This overall plan will include separate Parks Plan and Transportation Plan. We have put $100,000 in the budget just for the Parks Plan, as this master plan will be our guiding document for many years.”
Williams also says that to start the parks planning process, a steering committee will be formed to help guide the process and reach out to many other citizens to have input in to the plan. (The complete article is here)
In a City Press Release announcing the search for a Parks Director issued on Thursday, 8/15, the City says that it hopes to have the Parks Director hired shortly after taking over the parks on September 3rd. So far, the city says they have received 49 applications.
“We are looking for someone who can build a parks and recreation department from the ground up,” City Manager Marie L. Garrett said. “It’s important that candidates be able to develop quality programs and services to meet the recreation needs of the community.”
The director will also be tasked with implementing a comprehensive master plan for the parks, which will outline future growth and policies for the parks.
You may recall, after the City of Brookhaven was voted in, Governor Nathan Deal appointed a Governors Commission. That Governors Commission was broken out into Committees. One of those committees was Parks and Recreation.
The committee consisted of 9 individuals: Kim Gokce (Commissioner Co-chair), Sue Binkert (Citizen Co-chair), Chad Boles, Terrell Carstens, Wayne Fell, Tom Reilly, Karen Spitz, Elizabeth Werdesheim, and Karen Whitehead. The members of the Citizens Park Audit team included: Co-leaders: Sue Binkert & Karen Whitehead; Tim Able, Shane Boyer, Trey Boyer, Terrell Carstens, Julie Colan-Koriakin, Cass Connor, Joan Dillon, Jim Dupree, Dale Ellison, Wayne Fell, Mari Garner, Buddy Hechenbleikner, Walter Magnusen, Tom Reilly, Karen Spitz, Elizabeth Werdesheim, Donald Woodruff, Mark Zamora.
A Citizen Park Audit team was established consisting of 20 Brookhaven citizens. The Citizen Park Audit team logged in over 500 hours auditing the park and found significant disrepair and safety concerns. This group was tasked with identifying inventory of components and condition of the existing 11 parks. Teams of two were assigned various components: activity areas, amenities, grounds maintenance, nature/environment, organized sports areas, playground areas, security and personal safety, structures, and trail system. The audit was created with detailed modules with predefined criteria. This design ensured accurate, objective and complete information. The completion date of the audit was October, 22, 2012.
This Committee proposed that a Citizen Park Advisory Council be formed for the purpose of acting as a liaison between Brookhaven citizens and the Parks and Recreation Director.