Brookhaven, GA, June 14, 2016 – by Trey Benton – Preservation, the unanimous sentiment shared by Brookhaven residents who attended a meeting Monday evening to talk about what they want to see in Osborne Park, an 11.5 acre tract soon to become an official City of Brookhaven Park. Liz Cole, with the City’s Park and Recreation planning consultant GreenbergFarrow, along with landscape architect Mack Cain, led the first of several planned community meetings on the topic. “This is a very unique site – like no other in the City,” said Cole.
Shelley and Bernard Whiting, Lynwood Park residents whose home sits near the entrance of the greenspace, were first to speak and the first to introduce the word preservation into the conversation. “We would like to perhaps see a nature preserve, with hiking, a walking trail…we do not want to ruin it…we want to enhance it.”
The crowd agreed, and all who spoke underscored the community’s interest to leave the greenspace largely in a natural state. Cole said she was pleased to hear that, particularly because of the uniqueness of the Osborne site. “It’s like nothing we see anywhere else in Brookhaven,” Cole added.
In the middle of the tract there is an approximately 2-acre clearing, which locals say was once home to an olympic sized swimming pool back in the days of the former Lynwood Park School. Along the Western edge, is a flowing creek that eventually runs in to Nancy Creek. Along the outer edges are old growth trees, which some naturalists believe date back as far as the 1800’s.
Lynwood Park resident Dominque Giovine, said her sons love the Osborne Park property because of the fact it is natural. “We need to think about creating a way to invite kids in to enjoy it with a sense of adventure,” suggested Giovine. “We do not want to develop it.” She said with Lynwood Park across the street, the community already has access to great fields and this land needs to be preserved.
Some 3 1/2 years ago, the Lynwood community contemplated a dog park for Osborne, but since the City will be incorporating space in Skyland Park and perhaps eventually in Brookhaven Park, resident Jonathan Byrd said another dog park seemed repetitive. He threw out ideas such as a city maintained community garden with an educational component folded in. “Passive makes a lot more sense than active,” Byrd said.
Byrd suggested a mulched walking and mountain bike trail connecting to other trails in the area. “We could hook up to the Marist and Blackburn Park trails and be able to walk from Lynwood to Blackburn Park in 10 to 20 minutes,” he said. “A passive walkway with no paving, as natural as possible.” The majority of others in attendance agreed with Byrd, judging by the affirmative nods.
“We don’t want someone putting soccer fields here,” said Tom Reilly, speaking on behalf of the Natural Wildlife Federation (NFW). “The NWF is totally behind preservation. This land has been tucked away, relatively undiscovered for some time.”
Reilly went on to explain that during a recent reconnaissance mission with other preservationists, a wide variety of native plants were discovered. “We found Mayapples, Trillium, Lions Foot, Carolina Jasmine and Silver Bell,” said Reilly. “And most excitingly, we found a number of trees that we believe to be Champions.”
An education component was also prevalent in Monday’s conversation, such as a destination for area schools to utilize as an outdoor learning environment. Other ideas for including in the Osborne Park Plan was to have a sand volleyball court and a camping area.
Cole said the Community Engagement process for formulating the Osborne Park Master Plan will follow the same format as with the City’s other parks:
- Data collection
- Concept plans
- Cost estimates
- Final approvals
- Council approvals
Cole added that she hopes to have something in front of the City Council in September for them to consider for approval.
More meetings will be held on the Osborne Park Master Planning in the upcoming weeks. Look for announcements on the calendar on the City’s Website here.