Brookhaven city officials are working to wrap up the purchase from DeKalb County of the parks within city borders.
Though it would seem to be a simple transaction, it isn’t. Attorneys must figure out the exact acreage of each park and how many parks the city actually is buying.
“There have been two different numbers batted about,” said Brookhaven City Manager Marie Garrett.
There may be 12 parks in Brookhaven. Or there may be 13. Attorneys from both governments are looking into the minutia of what exactly defines “the parks.”
“We are identifying and confirming the boundaries of the parks, as is the county,” Garrett said.
The city took over maintenance of the parks in September. On Nov. 12, Brookhaven City Council approved a resolution to purchase the DeKalb County parks within Brookhaven’s city limits.
“It’s really a formality that puts the city and county on notice that the city intends to pursue the opportunity to purchase parks from the county,” Garrett said.
The price is already set. The legislation to create the city of Brookhaven included language that allows the city to purchase county parks for $100 per acre, Garrett said.
The price range is likely to be about $26,000.
“Once we have an understanding of what the parks are, what the county believes and understands what they’re selling … we’ll multiply the number of acres by the cost per acre and that will be a dollar amount we’ll put back on the agenda for council to approve,” Garrett said.
Once attorneys for the two governments agree upon the boundaries of the parks, the sale and purchase must be approved by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and the Brookhaven City Council. No date has been set.
Approximately half of the 25 acre Brookhaven Park is used by the DeKalb Services Center, an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities.
“The service center is a separate property under separate title and under separate use, meaning that it is not a public park,” Garrett said.
On Nov. 12, City Council members questioned what options they would have regarding the services center. Some expressed interest in improving the outside of the facility by doing things like landscaping or removing the chain link fence. Others suggested looking at relocating the facility in the future to have access to more park land.
Garrett said there is no effort to relocate the services center at this time.
“They are at that location and they have every right to be there. That property is owned separate and apart from DeKalb County parks,” Garrett said. “We welcome them there and look forward to working with them in any way that is in their best interest and in the interest of city. We see them as a neighbor.”
The property was originally the site of a Veterans Affairs hospital. The DeKalb Services Center, which has been in its location since 1978, serves about 120 people, including a large aging population. Along with day programs, the DeKalb Services Center also provides a hot lunch and physical therapy for those who need it.
Michelle Potter, a spokeswoman for the organization, said officials from the DeKalb Services Center have not been involved in discussions about Brookhaven’s purchase of the parks.
Gary Richey, CEO of the DeKalb Community Service Board, said, “We have been happy to serve citizens of DeKalb County in that facility for 35 years and look forward to continuing to offer these services in this location for many years to come. We look forward to continuing operations in the new city of Brookhaven and serving people with developmental disabilities in our community.”