I would like to explain why I cannot support the re-opening of the loop road in Murphey Candler Park. (“Murphey Candler Park residents outraged as Brookhaven moves forward with parking expansion,” Aug. 20.)

Living in Brookhaven, nestled between so many major arteries and population centers, the traffic, fumes, noise, commotion, etc. can be exhausting. It seems like everywhere you turn it’s always more cars, more pavement, more buildings. One of the great things about Murphey Candler Park is that once you get into it, it is very easy to forget you’re in the middle of all the mess. It’s trees and trails and wetlands and animals.

The loop road is a horseshoe shaped road that cuts into the east side of the park off of Candler Lake east. There are five picnic pavilions, three playgrounds and a bathroom in the area. All three playgrounds, the bathroom and two pavilions are within 50 to 100 feet of the existing parking on the side of Candler Lake East. There are many other pavilions and a pool and a playground on the other side of the lake that have access to existing roads and parking. But here’s the real kicker, the loop road has been closed for over 40 years!

The loop road was closed in the ’70s. In the intervening decades, the nature of its use has changed to that of being a more natural pedestrian and play area. As the Brookhaven area exploded with roads, traffic, buildings and machinations of man, it was a rare win for natural space free of the noise and fumes of vehicles.

Our opposition to re-opening the road is:

Since the road has been closed for so long, kids and families have enjoyed the area as one big car-free playground. Would you think it wise to put a road through a pedestrian, kid-friendly playground? Is eliminating the freedom this space provides worth the ease of access to three picnic pavilions and distant parking for baseball games?

Murphey Candler Park is a welcome respite from the asphalt and sprawl that surrounds us. You can sit in there and you can’t hear traffic, or engines running, or horns. Any encroachment of traffic and parking is an unwelcome disturbance to the peace and serenity the park provides.

As a community, we had been operating under the belief that there were still feedback periods and we’d have an opportunity to express our concerns and present our ideas for how to keep this a natural space while addressing the other goals of the project. Unfortunately, we were caught off guard when it was announced that the project was moving forward as is.

Frustratingly, our City Council has been unwilling to hear our position. Hundreds of us have organized to oppose the re-opening and preserve the more natural, peaceful environment the lack of vehicles affords.

This space is a gift to our city. Why we would entertain diminishing it for parking is baffling. We want to preserve this natural space for all of Brookhaven.

Nate Mansfield

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the Murphey Candler Neighborhood Association.

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