While the coronavirus pandemic has slowed commercial life to glacial speeds for most of April, Brookhaven has continued work and planning for city parks improvements.

On April 17, the city announced the completion of dredging and shoreline restoration projects at Murphey Candler Lake.

The lake work is part of a larger program to revitalize parks across the city. Additional projects include parking lot work at Blackburn Park, a new security system at Lynwood Park, the finalization of the land purchase for the new Corporal Robert C. Langford Memorial Park in Brookhaven Heights.

The dredging work underway at Murphey Candler Park in January. (Special)

“The city is continuing to complete major capital improvement projects during this difficult time,” Ernst said in the press release. “Citizens will be able to observe several projects still going in full speed throughout the city.”

Lake work

Murphey Candler Lake, located within the 135-acre namesake park, serves as both a recreational site and a resource for stormwater management. As part of the city’s Nancy Creek Watershed Improvement Plan, the city acted to dredge the lake, using excavators to clean out the bed.

“We are elated that this effort was completed in time for the summer season,” Councilmember Linley Jones said in a press release. “This greatly improves recreational quality of the lake for residents, helps the environment and surrounding wildlife, and helps reduce the potential for flooding in the area.”

The dredging project removed nearly 14,000 cubic yards of sediment from Murphey Candler Lake and disposed of it in local landfills. Focusing on the removal of sedimentation from the northern part of the lake, the project aimed to improve water quality and suppress the growth of invasive species, the council said in a press release.

Winter weather and the pandemic impacted the work. Still, Indiana-based Merrell Bros., Inc. completed dredging project on time and under budget. The project, approved by the City Council with a $1,795,828 budget, was completed with a final price tag of $1,647,001.

In addition to the underwater reclamation project, the city completed a restoration of the east shoreline. The project, costing $181,591, placed stones and other materials along the shore to correct severe erosion.

“Completion of these two major projects will significantly improve water quality of Murphey Candler Lake and provide additional storage capacity at the lake during major rainfall events,” mayor John Ernst said in the press release.

Other projects

In a meeting on April 14, the City Council finalized the purchase of land for a new park in Brookhaven Heights. The council agreed to take $1.1 million from the general fund balance for the land acquisition at 1174 Pine Grove avenue. DeKalb County contributed an additional $400,000 to the purchase, for a total payment of $1.5 million.

“I want to thank the county for the $400,000 they are contributing to this,” Councilmember Madeleine Simmons said in the meeting. “We wouldn’t be able to make this park happen without them.”

After passing the ordinance to allocate money for the land acquisition, the council then passed a resolution approving the purchase. City manager Christian Sigman said the new green space will be called Langford Park in honor of Cpl. Robert Langford, who once lived on the land before serving in the Vietnam War.

The council also approved an $879,000 Blackburn Park parking lot improvement project. The council awarded the project to Lovvorn Construction. The projects is part of a $40 million parks bond approved by voters in November 2018.

In another vote, the council approved additional security measures for Lynwood Park. GC&E Systems Group, a security system supplier on state contract, will install 18 new cameras. The council unanimously approved the $72,843.11 project.

–Ryan Kolakowski