My fellow Brookhaven residents,
As we close in on our great city’s 10-year anniversary, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. I grew up here, in the community known as Brookhaven before we were officially Brookhaven. I can remember walking to the Murphey Candler ballfields and playing in the swimming pool in the summers. Now I live here with my wife and sons in Lynwood Park. I love seeing my kids enjoying the same things I did as a child.
I can’t help but think how far our city has come since it was incorporated in 2012. Before that time, we relied heavily on DeKalb County with limited results. There were slow police response times, potholes all over the place, neglected parks … you get the idea. We were a bunch of neighborhoods who didn’t know who to identify with – Atlanta? Chamblee? Buckhead?
Thanks to our city’s founders, who had the fortitude to say we needed to do something, all that has changed dramatically. We’ve made a name for ourselves – not just in the metro area but also the state and nation. Businesses want to move here; amazing people want to live here. We are Brookhaven.
We have one of the best police departments you could ever hope for. Response times are dramatically improved. Brookhaven’s police department is innovative: it established the second drone program in the country and the first citywide license plate reader (LPR) program. Both initiatives have helped apprehend criminals who would do this community harm. And, did you know, the drone was even used during the 2022 Cherry Blossom Festival to locate a missing child?
Brookhaven has embarked on major projects that have improved not only our city, but also the metro area and state.
Thanks to our $40 million park bond approved by voters in 2018, we have destination and neighborhood parks we can be proud of. We built the first phase of the Peachtree Creek Greenway and are getting ready to embark on the second. Once complete, this multiuse trail will not only continue to add to Brookhaven’s greenspace and overall quality of life, but it will also connect us to the Atlanta BeltLine, Path 400, and the Silver Comet Trail.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory and the Atlanta Hawks training facility moved into the I-85/North Druid Hills area, an area that’s emerging as a major medical hub with state-of-the-art and pilot facilities serving folks from all over. Our partnerships with these hospitals and the Georgia Department of Transportation have advanced $46 million in federal and state funds to the I-85/ North Druid Hills Road interchange project to ensure our community, and the patients at Children’s and Emory, arrive easily and safely at their destination.
Speaking of traffic, we want to be part of the solution. I’m collaborating with the mayors of seven cities and four Community Improvement Districts along I-285 as part of the Top End Transit Executive Committee to bring Express Lane Transit to the chronically congested outer perimeter encircling Atlanta.
And let’s not forget the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival. It started with the late former Councilwoman and Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams and her wish to bring the community together in our beautiful Blackburn Park. Today, it’s the second largest music festival in the state, bringing in international stars like Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Rick Springfield, the Revivalists, Smash Mouth, The Wallflowers and more. Most importantly, it successfully brings us together.
These projects have us poised for the future, and the next 10, 20, 50, 100 years – I think we’ve made this a better place for our current and future residents. We sure are trying. Just maybe my kids and your kids will want to make Brookhaven home when they grow up.
A special thank you to our residents- we couldn’t do this without your support and input . . . Here’s to us!
John Ernst was elected mayor of Brookhaven in 2015 and re-elected to a second four-year term in 2019.