Dunwoody residents may soon see over 9 acres of new park land along Vermack Road. 

At an April 12 Public Facilities Authority meeting, the authority approved a purchase and sale agreement for $5.76 million for two parcels of land at 4809 and 4819 Vermack Road. The land includes about 9.3 acres with two houses, “open field and a wooded area,” according to a city press release. 

The Public Facilities Authority, which is made up of members of the City Council, functions mainly to enter into long-term lease agreements with different entities, but also has the potential to provide financing options, such as bond funding.

Dunwoody’s Parks Master Plan, which was last updated in 2017, lists land acquisition and preservation as a priority for Dunwoody, said the press release. 

Before the sale becomes final, the city will have a 60-day due diligence period to inspect the property before moving forward, according to the press release. That process will include an environmental study, appraisal and title research. 

If this acquisition goes through, the city will have more than 200 acres of park, according to the press release. 

4809 Vermack Road
A Google image showing the property and house at 4809 Vermack Road.

According to DeKalb County property records, the properties were previously owned by the RE Poss Revocable Trust, which is connected with a person named Roy Eugene Poss. City spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher said the properties were already on the market when the city decided to purchase them and did not offer any more information on the previous owner.

“When I heard these parcels were available, I saw the opportunity to preserve this greenspace,” said Mayor Lynn Deutsch in the press release. “I look forward to working with the community to create something fabulous.”

Boettcher said the city has not yet decided what to do about the two houses located on the properties. She also said no plans have been made for park amenities, but the city looks forward to working with residents to gather ideas. A spokesperson from the Vermack Swim and Tennis Sports Club, a neighborhood club that sits just across the street from the property, did not provide comment on the purchase agreement. 

The authority also voted on a funding method for the land acquisition. Instead of funding the purchase through the issuance of a revenue bond, the authority chose to move forward with the Georgia Municipal Association’s Bricks and Mortar financing program.

The Georgia Municipal Association is a state organization that represents municipal governments in Georgia. According to City Attorney Bill Riley, the Bricks and Mortar program offers a lease-to-purchase financing structure that would give the city more flexibility than a bond would. A lease-to-purchase agreement allows a tenant exclusive purchase rights to a property at a later date.

According to Boettcher, this lease-to-purchase agreement would mean GMA would technically own the land and the city would lease it from them. Dunwoody previously used this method to purchase its City Hall. 

“Our understanding is the GMA approach is a little bit cleaner,” said Councilmember Jim Riticher during the April 12 meeting. “So that’s why we’re going down that road. It’s how we finance City Hall, and that has worked for us quite well.” 

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.