The Dunwoody City Council discussed master plans for future parks at Roberts Drive and Vermack Road at a Sept. 6 meeting.
The city has been in the planning process for the parks since last year. One park will be located at 5435 Roberts Drive and the other at 4809/4819 Vermack Road.
Matthew Wilder with the engineering consultant firm Pond & Company presented drafts of both master plans to the council at the meeting. The city initially shared drafts for the park plans in December 2021.
The draft plan for Vermack Road includes an open play area, a playground, pickleball courts, restrooms, pavilions, and a gazebo. Wilder said that based on community feedback, the Vermack park would be a more passive greenspace.
“There’s a lot of things, but [it’s] a very passive, low key park,” he said.
Multiple council members asked if it would be possible to make the playground at the Vermack site more inclusive for children with disabilities.
“I think there’s room at Vermack to do multiple types of equipment … so that we can say, we have this playground … that is designed specifically for children with all kinds of disabilities,” said Mayor Lynn Deutsch.
The discussion surrounding the plan for the Roberts site was more involved. Last December, a middle school softball player advocated for better facilities in the city for her team at a council meeting. Initial iterations of a draft plan for the Roberts site included a softball field, but the plan shared at the Sept. 6 meeting replaced the softball field with a general multi-purpose field.
“Am I seeing a new plan for Roberts that does NOT include a softball field?!” wrote one user in a comment on Facebook. “Our girls are getting pushed around left and right.”
Wilder said the multi-use field was added to allow visitors more options in regards to what sport to play. Councilmember Catherine Lautenbacher said she and Councilmember Stacey Harris worked with Parks and Recreation Director Brent Walker to help come up with the new iteration of the Roberts plan.
“This is what she and I feel is needed for the district,” Lautenbacher said. “We three are comfortable that this is the best plan for the Roberts Drive park.”
Councilmember Rob Price said he understood the move to replace the softball field, but he hoped the city could find some way to accommodate that use within the city. The baseball fields at Brook Run Park are currently not equipped for softball games because the mounds are not movable.
“We’ve got all those fields at Brook Run, and if those pitchers mounds were movable we could easily switch them back and forth between baseball and softball uses,” Price said.
Councilmember Tom Lambert worried the dimensions of the multi-use field would be too small. Other council members agreed, and staff agreed to come back with three options for the size of the field, including information on what other amenities might have to be moved if the field size were increased.
Other amenities included in the Roberts draft plan include tennis courts, pickleball courts, one full basketball court and two half basketball courts, an older and younger children’s playground, and a splash pad.
Deutsch asked if the plan could include more playground or play equipment for older kids, and also wondered if this was the best place in the city to include a splash pad. Walker said the Roberts side was big enough to include a splash pad while still accommodating other amenities, but the council could elect to not put one there.
“It is a big ticket item in the plan,” he said.
The estimated cost for the park plans at this time is roughly $9.1 million for Roberts and $3.9 million for Vermack. The entire council meeting and discussion can be viewed on the city’s Facebook page.