The public is invited to the ribbon-cutting for Brookhaven’s new Skyland Park on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 10 a.m. The park is located at 2600 Skyland Drive.

An aerial view of the new Skyland Park. The John Lewis Elementary School, under construction, is at the bottom of the frame. The sand volleyball courts are near the top. (City of Brookhaven)

The four-acre park includes two sand volleyball courts, a dog park, a picnic shelter, a playground, a charging station for electric cars, an open field, a new restroom facility and two canopy structures with built-in solar panels where visitors can charge in their cell phones and other electronic devices.

Mayor John Ernst said at last year’s groundbreaking of the new park that shortly after he took office in 2016, the DeKalb County School District approached the city about a “tricky proposal” to sell and swap land.

“They needed new land for a new school to help with the overcrowding occurring on the Buford Highway corridor and we had park plans to build brand new parks,” he said.

The two entities agreed to come together and accomplish both at same time, he said. Once the arrangement was negotiated, an existing building on what would become the new park site, the former Georgia Vital Records Office, had to be demolished.

As part of the land deal, DeKalb Schools purchased the city’s 10-acre Skyland Park site from the city for $4.7 million where the new 900-seat John R. Lewis Elementary School is now under construction.

DeKalb Schools also purchased the vital records building from the state and then deeded that four-acre property over to the city for a new Skyland Park.

The city used that $4.7 million to demolish the vital records building and construct the new park for slightly more than $3 million.

“This arrangement was a win-win situation for Brookhaven and the DeKalb County school system,” Ernst said in a press release.

“The school system had room for a new school that would relieve overcrowding and the city had space to build a new, improved park for residents to enjoy,” he said. “Being located next door to the school, Skyland will provide an excellent environment for not only youngsters to come play when their school day is finished, but for all residents in the surrounding area.”

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.