2018 Capital Budget – Parks in Northwoods

In 2015, Doraville published its Parks and Recreation Master Plan,  laying out a framework of improvements needed for every park in the city. Here are the improvements that were called for in the Northwoods neighborhood’s parks:

Brook Park

  • Renovate tennis courts
  • Add perimeter walking loop with paved access to park amenities
  • Consolidate playground area, make ADA
  • General maintenance is needed on pavilion
  • Provide a restroom facility

Autumn Park:

  • Provide perimeter walking loop with paved connections to park amenities
  • Address ADA
  • Clear invasive species from stream corridor
  • Provide a restroom facility

Unfortunately, the city never developed a strategy for implementing the plan, and thus improvements for the Northwoods parks have remained in limbo since 2015. This is despite the fact that, at the time the plan was published, Brook Park was the 4th most used asset within our city’s Parks system (behind the Civic Center, Forest Fleming Fields, and Forest Fleming Arena). It was also listed as one of the most underdeveloped parks in the system.

On Saturday, the city’s staff emailed Doraville council members with a finalized capital budget for the rest of this fiscal year (through June 30, 2018). A lot of the items in this budget are repairs or maintenance that must be done for safety or legal compliance. There are also a few items listed that we have received ear-marked grants for, so we’re limited in how we can spend that money.

I was happy to see that there was some money devoted to a park in Northwoods, but it was $30,000 for a walking path in Autumn park (the line item also mentions stream improvements, but these will cost a lot more than $30,000 and are unlikely to happen this year). The city also is proposing to spend $10,000 on playground equipment in Autumn Park and English Oak Park – even though the playground equipment in both these parks is fairly new.

The city council has to vote on this budget on Monday night. I think that residents in Northwoods might prefer to see some improvements in Brook Park rather than in Autumn Park. I’m open to making an amendment to this capital budget to reallocate the money if it looks like there is lot of support in that direction.

Here are some of my ideas:

  • Focus on improvements to the pavilion at Brook Park – including updating the tables, adding tables and benches around the pavilion area and renovating the grill.
  • Focus on accessibility to the pavilion. You currently have to walk down a steep slope covered with pine needles to get to it. This is difficult and even dangerous for people who are mobility challenged.
  • Spend some of the money on a conceptual design that engages the Northwoods neighborhood on conceptual designs for both parks.
  • Go ahead with the plan to build the path around Autumn Park

Some of the other recommendations in the 2015 Parks Plan (fixing the tennis courts and removing ivy from the stream in Autumn park, in particular) are good – we just aren’t going to realistically accomplish them for $30-40,000.

I’m interested in hearing thoughts from Northwoods residents about what kind of improvements they’d like to see with the parks. Please feel free to email me at joseph.geierman@doravillega.us. I know that my fellow District 2 Council Member, MD Naser, would also like to hear from you.