George Dusenbury
George Dusenbury

George Dusenbury, who has been tapped by Mayor Kasim Reed to be the new commissioner of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, says he will review the 2-acre minimum required of city parks after he takes office at the end of June.

Speaking to the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods at its June 10 meeting, Dusenbury said he understands the reasoning behind the 2-acre policy, “which is tied to the cost for the city to maintain parkland.”

“It becomes very expensive for the city to send crews out to maintain any parkland that is less than 2 acres,” he said.

However, the former executive director of Park Pride indicated he understood the problems that policy causes particularly in Buckhead where potential park land is difficult to find and the costs of purchasing land is higher.

He said he has always maintained that “everyone should be able to walk to a park,” and more parks are needed in Buckhead in order for that to be possible.

Dusenbury said he is not opposed to looking at privatizing some operations under the Parks Department, such as the operation of swimming pools. He said private firms run the city’s golf courses and some tennis facilities under contract. He believes privatization is an option for some other entities.

The Chastain Park pool is operated under a contract between the city and the Chastain Park Athletic Association, which is headed up by BCN President Jim King.

–John Schaffner