More than 100 people offered input regarding city-wide trails Dec. 7 at Dunwoody City Hall, but the group that was most represented were those who have a problem with one specific location.

In August, the city of Dunwoody agreed to a $99,480 contract with the PATH Foundation to lead the creation of a trail master plan for the city. The project is divided into eight parts and includes data collection and analysis, field work, preliminary plan findings, design, plan development, drafting the master plan, implementing timelines and cost estimates, and the final master plan.

One of the first steps of the process took place at the Dec. 7 open house, where attendees were asked to mark a map to indicate where they live, where they want connectivity and where they don’t.  

Most of the crowd, however, was specifically focused on the location of a proposed multi-use path on Tilly Mill Road. A group of neighbors on the east side of the street are objecting to both its location and the need for a path that is larger than the existing sidewalk.

Dr. Alan Goldman, a Stephens Walk resident whose property backs up to Tilly Mill Road on the east side, said he and his neighbors want the path located on the west side of the road – where the Marcus Jewish Community Center has its facilities.

Goldman and his neighbor, Stan Schwartz, said the proposed trail on the east side would result in hundreds of trees being removed. The west side installation would only displace about 75 trees, according to the plan.

“In my yard alone, more than 30 trees would have to be removed,” Schwartz said. “We don’t need this kind of disruption, and there isn’t really a need beyond what we already have.”

Su Ellis, who attended the open house, said she is also opposed the location of the Tilly Mill trail.

“I want to know the width of every trail that they are suggesting,” Ellis said. “While I see the 12-foot trails being installed in commercial areas, I’m against a trail of that width in residential areas that takes out so many trees.”

Remi Bullard, who lives in the North Springs subdivision, however, disagreed with many of the attendees, and lamented about the demographics of most of the people at the open house.

“We need to plan for the future and get more young people weighing in,” he said. “We don’t need to be left behind when places like Brookhaven and other cities are developing multi-use trails.”

Councilman Tom Lambert, who has been meeting for months with residents who live along the proposed Tilly Mill trail installation, said the city is open to all ideas when it comes to the trail master plan.

“We are looking forward to getting feedback from the community as to their wants and needs for connectivity,” Lambert said.

Councilmen Joe Seconder and Rob Price also said they were impressed by the attendance at the event.

“I’m thrilled so many people have come out to give us their thoughts,” Price said.

The city is also offering an online opportunity for those who wish to register their opinions at www.dunwoodygagov/trailmasterplan. Comments will be closed Dec. 30, and the results tabulated and shared with the public in early 2023.

For the Vermack Park master plan, the Dunwoody City Council recently requested additional time and public input, after nearby residents objected to several elements of the plan. The city will hold an open house at the proposed park at 4809 Vermack Road on Dec.10 from noon to 2 p.m. Residents will be given a chance to review the most recent concept plan and walk the property, where desired amenities will be marked off to show sizes and locations. More information can be found at www.dunwoodyga.gov/parkplans.

Cathy Cobbs

Cathy Cobbs covers Dunwoody for Reporter Newspapers and Rough Draft Atlanta. She can be reached at cathy@roughdraftatlanta.com