Too MUCH. TOO DENSE. TOO FAST.
Please stop and think.
- Validate each artist's rendition for accuracy before publishing- include trees that will be removed during construction, show utilities (overhead lines and poles, underground relocations necessary, lights, etc), grading changes that will occur, detention ponds and stormwater structure changes to the project area and downstream, etc. We have all been fooled too many times by pretty pictures that do not represent the final reality. As just a minor example, each new restroom needs electricity, water, sewers, access walks/lights, and upkeep, where nothing exists there now.
- Think through and document how you envision each park amenity to be used, both in isolation and in combination with other amenities concurrently. Decide in advance the maximum number of people, animals, bikes, and vehicles each amenity, and the whole park, will sustain. Clearly document how and when multi-use amenities are to be used for each purpose, as it will aid citizens considering this master plan to decide whether you are sane or not, and if this is what they really had in mind. Documented usage, in particular, will let citizens know the extent of "organized play" versus passive park features you envision. It is an IMPORTANT DETAIL to get on the table. For my feedback, I'm for trees, serenity, and less ongoing cost. I only want my Public Works to pave existing roads, not expand them or build new things. In a city where undeveloped land is scarce, and especially in its largest park, the designer's pallet should extremely bias grass, bushes, trees, and critters over concrete, infrastructure, noise, and mass humanity venues. Who manages organized play overall? Will there be charges for it, and profit made by somebody? Where is the line between a park being underutilized and one overbooked (and by non-locals)? Where is Brookrun on that line now? What I fear is you are 100% in the structured organized (sport) use mindset and looking for comments which corroborate this thinking.
- Concession stands strike me as the segue way for turning the park into a business. If that business is charged with removing ALL trash in the entire park twice a day, every day, then I am less opposed, but opposed nonetheless. But maybe Treetop Quest has already cracked that nut. We spent more money knocking down a building and making changes that benefitted that business than its rents can possibly return to the city for a decade or more. Skate park liability concerns me. Let's be real careful if someone proposes that his business is necessary and will pay for itself or make money for the park. It ends up costing all taxpayers, not just the obliviously optimistic ones, and helps turn the property commercial.
- Bigger picture. How many tennis and basketball courts does Brookrun need given the numbers that currently exist nearby enough in Atlanta? Before adding more, maybe scheduling these other ones will suffice. That sounds like a slippery slope indeed. Willingness to pay, and the costs of running pools, is probably why more don't exist already in our area. I am glad one didn't make the final cut for this plan, but a few of the commenters could probably benefit from seeing documented rationale for why certain amenities were chosen over others. Are courts better amenities for the tiny Perimeter Center area parks? Or, are these courts already too big for the land that is left unbuilt there? The one thing Brookrun has that is unique in all of Atlanta is 100 acres of mostly green space. Once we carve up the trees and trails aspect of that natural resource we will have indeed kept up with the developer Jones' in our sister cities. We'll have given up our unique asset, too. If we want to build a sports center, let's knock down a building somewhere and make one with nice shower facilities and fan stands and parking decks and a restaurant and some retail shopping... Ah, but we can't, because once a building is built it costs too much to turn it into a less profitable entity. We need to be aware our most precious commodity in this city is green, minimally developed land that people want to live near.
- Parking. I am in favor of absolutely NO new parking at the park for the following reasons. One, enough other facilities exist such that some people will go elsewhere if it is just too hard to drive and park at Brookrun. This serves as a free maximum capacity limiter. Two, it helps minimize impervious surface (concrete) which carries the occluded and nontrivial cost of stormwater infrastructure change. Three, lack of parking encourages walking or biking, and more local use, which seems to be the mantra of the vocal constituents of City Council meeting attendees. I suppose one goes to a park for some perceived health benefit in the first place, right? Four, I believe the city has grossly underestimated the traffic increasing effect the new Tilly Mill/North Peachtree intersection will generate. Traffic quality of life for those living near the park will not improve. I am further in favor of prohibiting all car traffic in the park over time. A plan for phasing in that contingency should be a part of this master plan. A low speed electric vehicle plan should also be begun for moving people from outlying parking areas to the park and other destinations along multiuse trails, and even if a separate effort from this plan you should have appropriate placeholders for this.
- Lighting. More details about this please. In particular, I am interested in the shielding you are going to put on the lights that will be quite visible to surrounding residents after you cut down the trees required for construction. Even existing lights need to be examined for retrofitting considering the canopy removal you are considering. Loudspeaker usage probably should get a sentence or two in this section of the plan.
- Document by year the specific costs for maintaining each amenity, and the city budget increases, over the lifespan of the amenity. Make these costs highly visible to the public. Some fence-sitter supporters might have a change of heart if certain costs are too high. Here's a not often thought about side effect- what increase to police/emergency protection budget have you estimated for this park when all venues are in use at rush hour?
- Show the first 10 year costs of maintenance and capital cost for each amenity group on the artist renditions. Show no pretty pictures without realistic price tags to foster thoughtful opinion forming by the public.
- Before a construction decision is made, have an expert on staff who has the time and knowledge to manage the contractors and inevitable field changes. "Design and build" projects take too much control away from the city, and allow it to shirk responsibility. Risk of contractor errors is borne by the citizenry, and not properly managed lower by the city. We've already had detention pond, wetland, and downstream neighborhood problems just trying to build trails. It seems like 3 miles of trails should have been an easy part.
- Involve Dunwoody taxpayers with frequent "price tag" update emails as designs unfold for citizen continued consent or a decision to stop. This includes when changes to ongoing operational costs are identified as well. Quickly own up to all cost overruns and incompletely designed aspects that become evident. It would please me greatly to see this build out occur over a timeframe of 30 years with significant time built in to measure the impact of each change before starting the next one.
- Smart use of money. I believe Dunwoody staffers have a concrete/sidewalk fetish. At the northeast corner of the park along Peeler Road about 1200 feet of new sidewalk is slated to parallel the existing multi-use Super-sidewalk. I'd love to see the rationale for this. A bunch of trees will have to go and stormwater pipe will have to be laid. And, for what end result? Beauty? Sidewalk symmetry? There are some areas of town where a sidewalk on one side of the road seems sufficient. Is there a pedestrian count for the number of people who would use this new sidewalk segment in preference to the very nearby trail or other side of the road? Are we accommodating a mythical person not willing to walk an extra 50 paces to navigate the few bends in the trail there?
- Better use the input you have collected. Provide and maintain a map, for each plan iteration, colored by parcel id, showing citizen support for the project. Within a half mile of the park actively try to get at least a yes, no, or don't care answer from each household. Use density of color to indicate degree of support or opposition to each of the top 3 amenities and overall plan. If you make these maps dynamic and easily updatable online by the citizenry, city councilors can use them for the current pulse of what their constituents think (on this or any other topic if the system is well built). I realize I am as biased as the next person in my desires for this park, and the city is trying to accommodate as many people as possible. However, I don't feel their information systems and consultants are presenting enough information and properly assessing what we say we want when answering structured multiple choice questions that don't provide for all possible answers. And, if a human actually reads my feedback comments here, an acknowledgement of that would give me way more faith in this process.
- I guess the gist of my comments is they are related to not thinking through to completion the inevitable implementation details of ideas and changes that sound good on the surface. There is too much dreaming of how good this might be for each of us in our own particular situations and not enough thought to what could go wrong or produce very unpleasant side effects. I see a major "half baking" in this master plan. Let's not be in too big a hurry to eat. I am reminded of a comment that seems to hold- the price of a thing goes up by the amount Government gets involved trying to make it better or more affordable.
- Lastly, the city IT department needs to have a word with the PeakDemocracy people. Their website is not friendly to all web browsers, particularly on window sizing. Via my version of Chrome, the right hand margins of embedded scrolling panes are not visible (no horizontal scroll bar, either) and unless you have a 85" monitor the awkwardness of 2 sets of vertical scroll bars is cumbersome. Some content (including buttons/links) was just not viewable, until I switched to Firefox. The Dunwoody website itself often has overlaying graphics that interfere with navigation. This kind of discourages the feedback you purport to seek. To cap all, the verify process for registration appears to be doing nothing, and re-presents the "you need to verify..." verbiage after signing back in. It is really going to torque me off if this District 3 resident's thoughtfully considered feedback winds up being undisplayed as an unregistered outsider!