Brookhaven residents received their first look at early renderings for a public “lake house” in Murphey Candler Park at a Feb. 22 meeting. 

The city passed a $40 million park bond with 60% voter approval in 2018, and $8.9 million of that amount was set aside for improvements to Murphey Candler Park, a 135-acre park at 1551 West Nancy Creek Drive. A community center was in the initial master plan for the park, but after a public input process the lake house was proposed as an alternative. 

A site plan for the lake house at Brookhaven’s Murphey Candler Park as seen in a Feb. 22 virtual presentation.

“Based upon the feedback received from public input, residents in the area articulated a strong desire for a multipurpose facility designed to serve smaller groups of people than what a ‘community center’ implies,” said city spokesperson Burke Brennan in an email. “To reinforce the sentiment from the community, the project was renamed to better meet expectations.” 

The design team from architectural firm Clark Patterson Lee showed an early sketch of the site plan. The proposed lake house would be about 4,000 square feet with an approximately 2,500-square-foot deck. 

In the new concept drawing, the lake house has been moved closer to the water’s edge than the community center was in the 2018 master plan, moving the structure further away from traffic and closer to nature. To move the building closer to the water, the city would have to relocate a sewer line.

The drawing shows where new trees would be planted and where existing trees would be conserved. Some trees would have to be cut to make room for the building and to move the sewer line. 

“The convergence of all of these priorities that we saw in the public input process is the impetus for all of these decisions,” said Rebecca Keefer from Clark Patterson Lee. “Taking advantage of the views, but also wanting to preserve and protect the existing trees.”

Representatives from Clark Patterson Lee presented findings from a 10-month public input process they said helped them decide what residents wanted from out of the lake house and asked for more input from meeting attendees.

According to the presentation, some of the main takeaways were a need for variety in what type of activities would be offered out of the lake house, with a focus on youth and senior programming. There were also calls to take advantage of the natural landscape, better lake accessibility and an efficient, flexible design.

Keefer said it became clear the community needed a place in the park that could be flexible in terms of what groups meet there or what activities were held. One of the suggestions for the lake house was to have multi-purpose rooms with partitions, so the size of the space could be altered depending on the event.

“The goal of this building is to provide additional recreational opportunities and rental space … for our citizens,” said Parks and Recreation Director Brian Borden. “I see it having multiple roles and being used by different groups and associations once it’s completed.”

Residents can submit questions and comments about the lake house design to until 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 26. 

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.