No parks, no play

To the editor,

The newly formed Dunwoody Tea Party and its self-professed leader need a bit of public vetting, since this individual is now utilizing a national “party” to back his opposition to Dunwoody parks improvements and park space bonds.

Come to find out, Norb Leahy lives on a street in the Wyntercreek subdivision composed of a majority of retirees. This group formed a loud and constant presence at Dunwoody City Council meetings to insist there be no open green space, no playground, no pavilions, and no new Dunwoody Nature Center building. (DNC land abuts this street.)

The overall consensus displayed by this group was that having kids and adults play, have picnics, and enjoy Dunwoody park land near their houses would be way, way too much noise. No kids, no families, no play was the sentiment. The Dunwoody City Council ultimately passed its master plan to include an open green space, a small playground, and a new nature center building contained within the property. Coincidentally enough, shortly thereafter, Mr. Leahy begins a Dunwoody Tea party, espousing baloney and malarkey to try and sway voters to vote “no” on the upcoming bonds.

Hmmmmm, something doesn’t smell right here. Could Mr. Leahy be utilizing the Tea party for his own personal agenda of preventing master plan improvements to the Dunwoody Nature Center?

No Bonds = No Improvements

What say ye, Tea party??

Mike Stalin

Parks bonds = public debt

To the editor:

Our family would like to see all of the improvements that the parks bond will bring, but not at the price of more public debt. The increased debt load makes it unattractive and just plain wrong for our young city.

We should vote no for the parks bond because:

1. Bond debt should be reserved for critical needs, not wants or a wish list. Parks are not critical.

2. Bond debt should be used as a last resort after all other avenues of financing are exhausted.

3. By financing a wish list with bonds, it deprives the benevolent well-to-do citizens and companies among us from stepping up and fulfilling a well thought out want/need of the community. If parks or any other issue has staying power at the forefront of public attention for a time, then it is more likely alternative financing ideas or outright gifts may come forward. Dunwoody has a history of more well-to-do individuals fulfilling community needs, like the original Dunwoody Elementary School, among others.

4. Going into debt will make it harder for us to incur additional debt in the future for things we really need and cannot finance otherwise, like city repairs to infrastructure after an unforeseen natural or other disaster, for example.

5. Tax rate increases associated with debt increase the cost to own a home or business in Dunwoody, and make both less attractive when compared to neighboring communities.

We know that going into debt for all reasons has become normalized behavior at all levels in our society, but if current events and recent history have taught us absolutely anything at all, city debt should be reserved for critical needs and used only as a last resort.

Kent and Liesa Nichols

Now’s the time for more parks

To the editor,

The parks bonds for acquisition and improvements are very clear-cut ways for Dunwoody to move forward. The parks bonds will fund the acquisition of new park land, and the improvement bonds will allow us to fix and upgrade our existing parks. All of this is long overdue in Dunwoody. We’ve talked about more green space for decades, and now with land prices so low it’s the opportune time to move forward.

As citizens we need to approve these bonds so the City Council can move forward as they develop detailed plans and choose opportunities to acquire land for parks and green space. I trust our local government to do what’s best for us in Dunwoody. That’s why we set up a city to begin with, to have local control and accountable public officials. Passing these parks bonds is the best way for us to move forward.

I for one am tired of those who want every last possible detail spelled out, when in fact, we’ve got to have confidence and trust in our local officials. I do. They are elected by us; they are responsible to us; and I’m sure they are going to do the sensible thing with our parks. Their track record proves this. When opportunities arise to acquire green space for parks, our officials will be ready to act and have the funding in place to do so. We cannot hamstring our trusted council members as they work in our city’s best interests.

Further, now is the time to make these land purchases for parks. We will never have an opportunity with land prices so low. If we don’t approve these bonds now, prices will rise, developers will come in, and we will have missed a real chance to have more parks and green space in Dunwoody. Instead of parks, we’ll have projects – put there by developers.

Let’s get serious about doing the right thing as voters and vote to improve our city.

All of these referenda are really about our future. If we want a better City, with Parks not projects, then vote “yes” for both parks bonds on Nov. 8.

Rob Augustine

Questioning the timing, funds

To the editor:

So, the city of Dunwoody wants to become land barons. They want us to give them two blank checks totaling $66 million to purchase unspecified land in unspecified places for unspecified uses and to make unspecified improvements thereon. All in the name of green space. Or, is this an effort to establish a legacy for the city fathers on the way out the door? All this is to be funded by increased taxes on our property?

They would have you believe that we must act now so that we can get land in Dunwoody at dirt-cheap prices. I don’t know if that is necessarily the case. I looked at the detail on my little piece of Dunwoody and noted that the land portion of my appraised value went up by $75,000 this year. I would like to see some qualified real estate professionals weigh in on this matter.

I personally don’t think this is the time or method for funding of these land purchases for some of the following reasons:

These will be general obligation Bonds, which by definition means that they are backed by the full faith and credit of the city of Dunwoody.

The city is less than 3 years old. We don’t need to be in debt to the tune of $66 million at this early stage in our life.

Do we really need more green space when the city can’t even decide what to do with the land we already have? One day something is going to be a ball field and the next it is going to be something else. I have not any seen any proposals for the “PVC Farm” the city recently bought with our tax dollars. People may be for green space now, but if land is purchased near their neighborhood those same folks will be up in arms about the ball fields or amphitheater being put so close to their homes.

I have not seen any evidence that alternate funding sources have been considered. They seem to have just taken the easy approach and said, “Lets just tax the people.” I think it’s time to think outside of the box and consider other funding sources, such as owner financing, lease purchase agreements, corporate donations/partnerships/naming rights, government grants, Foundation grants, pay per use, hotel/motel taxes and others.

I’m not against parks or green space. What I am against is the timing, the method of funding it in this economy and the ambiguity of the funding as it is currently proposed.

Dyar Burttram