Doraville, GA, April 19, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Doraville’s City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve the City’s Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan covering almost 42-acres of parkland. The $26 million plan adds in future Greenways and Facilities, as well as many improvements and upgrades.
“We are very excited about all the things happening in our city,” Mayor Donna Pittman told The Post. “The parks and rec. master plan was very well thought out, with lots of input from citizens. We are looking forward to it all coming together to continue making our city even better.”
Prepared by Lose and Associates, the plan evaluates the current system and develops recommendations for meeting the recreation needs of Doraville over the next ten years. During the process, Lose took in to account other studies prepared by the City over the last decade.
Lose also held community forums and focus group sessions, as well as administered online user surveys. According to the Master Plan, respondents indicated that lack of amenities, parks funding and awareness of what is available in the City’s Parks were their top reasons for not using them. Respondents also said the City should provide more walking, biking and running trails, upgraded or new indoor recreation facilities and an improvement to their visual appearances.
Almost all respondents said an attractive, useful and safe Parks system is very important to the community.
Looking at Doraville’s existing Parks and Rec. Facilities and Community Centers individually, Lose recommends the following:
- Chicopee Park (2.14 Acres): Address ADA compliance issues; Consolidate play equipment, Provide a walking loop to connect play features to the access points
- English Oak Park: (1.81 Acres): Relocate ADA parking, Address ADA compliance issues, Consolidate play equipment
- Autumn Park (5.93 Acres): Provide perimeter walking loop with paved connections to park amenities, Address ADA, Clear invasive species from stream corridor, Provide a restroom facility
- Brook Park (6.07 Acres): Renovate tennis courts, Add perimeter walking loop with paved access to park amenities, Consolidate playground area, ADA compliance, General maintenance is needed on pavilion, Provide a restroom facility
- Flowers Park (4.63 Acres): Expand pool area to include splash pad and new ticketing/pool house bldg., Coordinate with adjacent church for shared driveway access from New Peachtree Rd., Consider acquisition of adjacent properties for park expansion, Demo residential building and redevelop front of park, Add parking lot lighting
- Bernard Halpern Park (4.20 Acres): General ADA considerations, Renovate parking areas, Open lawn area re-graded, irrigated, Basketball goal area, needs to be repaved, restriped, Provide a restroom facility
- Honeysuckle Park (20.09 Acres): Master plan the entire park for renovations, Immediate needs include renovation of football field turf and fencing as well as addressing safety concerns with spectator seating areas and existing field house, Baseball fields can be serviceable for near term with new fencing, dugouts, backstops, etc., Address general ADA renovations, Address parking layout, lighting, Consolidate storage into single maintenance yard, Renovate and consolidate playground equipment
- Paul Murphey Boxing Club (Special Use Facility): Provide ADA parking, Continue general upkeep, Consider selling to private enterprise
- Doraville Civic Center (Community Center): Address ADA concerns, General renovations and upkeep
- Forest Fleming Arena (Honeysuckle Park): General maintenance and upkeep, Address ADA concerns on interior and exterior, The facility is serviceable, Replace gymnasium flooring
Lose points out that in order to develop a long-term capital plan for improving and expanding the park system, opinions of probable cost for suggested park improvements are needed. “These opinions total just over $4,000,000 in capital improvement needs for the next three years in order to bring existing facilities up to speed in terms of quality, safety, and ADA compliance,” Lose says in the plan.
The General Recommendations include establishing standards of design, construction, usability and amenities. The plan also contemplates creating Greenways throughout the City and connectivity via a walkable and bikable system.
In order to fund improvements, 75% of those who provided input during the planning process said they would be willing to pay some amount per month more toward improving Park maintenance and recreation services.
Lose breaks down the Park Development Priorities in to three tiers. Tier One priorities are the actions that should be taken and the Park projects that should be funded in the next 24 months. Tier Two priorities are projects to be completed in 2 to 5 years and Tier Three priorities are projects they suggest be completed in the next 5 to 10 years.
To realize the full potential of the Lose plan, Doraville will need to invest $5.6 million in the next 5 years and be very aggressive between years 2021 and 2025 to fund the remaining $20.6 million. Of all of the items in the plan, capital costs for new parks, new facilities and Greenways are the most expensive and make up $17.9 million of the $26 million proposal.
Lose suggests that utilizing traditional funding sources such as Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST); General Obligation Bond; Program User Fees; Local Option Sales Tax (LOS); Impact or Other Development Fees; General Fund Tax Dollars and State and Federal Grants could be used. Additionally, the Master Plan says various alternative funding sources could be explored such as Partnerships, “Buy-a-Foot” Programs, Fundraising, Exclusive Beverage Rights and Grants.
As with any Parks and Rec. Master Plan, the plan serves as a visioning document and does not “set in stone” the improvements or recommendations must be carried out. But, it does provide a snapshot and an opinion of what Doraville Parks and Recreation facilities could look like if all things fall in to place.
The Full 2015 Doraville Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan as passed is below.