Hirsch’s lawsuit was not without merit

To the editor:

Joe Earle’s use of the word “gadfly” to describe Joseph Hirsch was totally inappropriate. The courts decided to award Mr. Hirsch $551 plus $7,500 in legal fees, so his case against the city of Dunwoody was not totally without merit.

The city of Dunwoody, in this and other incidents currently in the news, shows that the city turns a deaf ear towards the feelings and concerns of its citizens.

Joyce Leonard

Walk this paths and save these trees

To the editor:

We are 37-year residents of Dunwoody and have great concern about the current plans to destroy parts of the natural forest in Brook Run Park that is such a valuable part of this city.

Having lived through the April 9, 1998, tornado and the resulting great losses of wooded areas, why would anyone want to intentionally and irrevocably damage these old-growth forest areas in our largest city park?

Until you walk these paths – alone, with your children, with your grandchildren or with your dog, as we have since the park was opened to the public – you cannot fully understand what cutting the trees, clearing wide swaths and pouring concrete where natural areas have existed so long, will do to the park.

Please save the trees! Repair and resurface the existing trails with like materials. Stripe the existing roadways for the bike riders. Dedicate resources to do ongoing maintenance of the trails, sidewalks, bridges, roadways, grass and trees, which have been long neglected.

Finally, planning to mix pedestrians of all ages, children, strollers, dogs on leashes and bicyclers on the same winding pathway is creating an environment for accidents to occur.

We would be happy to meet you and any council members at your convenience at the park to further discuss our concerns.

John & Diane Fleckenstein

Mayor: ‘It is wiser to resolve this’ lawsuit

To the editor:

My thoughts on the settlement [of the lawsuit brought by Joseph Hirsch, Dunwoody Reporter Dec. 14-27]:

There was considerable sentiment to fight this lawsuit and, win or lose, stand up for what we know is right. Our legal team believed that vindicating the city was less than likely and could cost the city several times the settlement amount.

While we admire and appreciate the stance that companies like Walmart take when they refuse to settle frivolous lawsuits, we find ourselves in a different situation. We don’t have the deep pockets of a Walmart, and it’s not our money.

We are entrusted with the community’s money and believe that it is wiser to resolve this lawsuit and devote attention to reviewing and revising the program for the beneficial use of our citizens.

Mike Davis

Mayor of Dunwoody

Time to re-think trail

To the editor:

Now that the courts have granted an injunction on development of the multi-use trail in Brook Run Park, perhaps we can use this time to re-think the proposed plan for this trail.

I am all for good trails in Brook Run Park. They will not only provide a nice place to walk, jog or bike, they will also serve, eventually, to tie Trails in Dunwoody to other communities in our area. However the presently proposed plan for the multi-use trail does of a poor job of meeting these goals. And, it is a terrible example of how we should treat the environment and our beautiful park.

A couple of suggestions:

• The mayor’s plan calls for the removal of 337 trees to build a “nature trail” in Phase I. The actual trail will be 12 feet wide and made with impermeable concrete. What the mayor doesn’t tell you that is that the construction clearance for this concrete path will be a cleared swath of from 20 to 50 feet wide through the forest.

• Phase II, the second part of building the Brook Run multi-use trail, calls for destruction of several hundred more trees. Even though there are plenty of already cleared areas where the Phase II trail could run, the current plans never fails to steer the trail through forested areas.

• Bicyclists generally would prefer to ride where there are not sharp bends and tight curves in their pathway. The current Phase I plan includes several such sharp turns. The current plan puts walkers, skateboarders, birdwatchers, families with strollers, people in wheelchairs and school or scout groups on the same path as bicyclists. Why not reduce the multi-use trail to the originally planned 8-foot walking trail width and develop separate bike trails that take advantage of some of the less-forested areas of the park? That would give us more freedom for bikers, less environmental damage and fewer chances of injuries for all.

• Joggers, I am told, would rather run on well-built ‘soft’ trails (e.g. wood-chips) than on concrete when possible. ‘Soft’ trails are much easier on the feet, knees and other joints than hard concrete. Why not develop such trails using some of the existing old asphalt trails in the park?

• The current plan calls for extensive earth moving and bulldozer work to take the trail through some steeply sloped areas of Brook Run Park. Why not re-route the trail to less hilly areas or run parts of it near the existing trails or roads in the park when possible?

The issue before us is not whether to have a trail or not have a trail as some would have you believe. Rather it is whether to have a good trail or a bad trail. The current trail plan is a poor plan. We can make trails in Brook Run that are desirable to everyone and do it in an environmentally friendly way.

We are building a great little city here, let’s do it right.

Jeff Coghill