Brookhaven is tackling invasive plant removal with a new partnership, according to a press release.
The city has entered a partnership with the nonprofit EcoAddendum, or Eco-A, and ReForest ATL to remove invasive plant species in four areas: Murphey Candler Park, Fernwood Park, North Druid Hills Greenspace, and Osborne Park. The partnership plans to use environmentally safe ways to remove these species and train volunteers to assist with the effort.
Jeff Dadisman, Brookhaven’s tree canopy preservation program manager, said that the effort encompasses an initiative to restore diverse forests in the area and avoid collateral damage to native plants.
“Eco-A and ReForest ATL offered the best combination of staff expertise and manual, non-chemical removal methods for multiple forests and greenspaces in Brookhaven,” he said in the release.
ReForest ATL will help lead volunteers in removing invasive species. According to City Arborist Tyler Lenn, the five worst plants for Brookhaven’s parks in that category are kudzu, English ivy, wisteria, privet, and microstegium.
Kathryn Kolb, director of Eco-A, will inventory the four parks’ most valuable plants and trees and lead an 11-part series of free, monthly classes for Brookhaven residents.
“Brookhaven is on the forefront of considering parks in a new way,” Kolb said in the release. “Too often, park management focuses on mowing grass and recreational uses. By managing high value, old-growth forest remnants from an ecological approach, these irreplaceable assets will flourish for generations into the future.”
During Kolb’s classes, volunteers will learn how to distinguish between native and invasive plants, encourage the growth of birds and other wildlife, and understand how urban forests work.
City spokesperson Burke Brennan said the new partnership is part of the city’s desire to invest more in its parks.
“It’s part and parcel for the overall advocacy of these priorities that we hold as important in Brookhaven, which are our parks, our tree canopy, and our greenspace,” Brennan said.
Interested volunteers can register for classes online.
Other Park Updates
In addition to park maintenance, other changes for Brookhaven’s parks have been recently completed and are coming down the line. In Murphey Candler Park, construction of a trail on the dam should be completed by the end of this year, according to Brennan. By the time of this publication, the north boardwalk is expected to be open for public use.
The city is working on construction of a splash pad and pool at Lynwood Park, which is expected to be completed before the 2023 swim season. Parking and a synthetic turf field will be open earlier in the spring of next year.
Earlier this year, the city took control of Brookhaven Park, approving a settlement with DeKalb County that transferred the eastern section of the park to the city and ending a years-long land dispute. The city can now make headway on Brookhaven Park improvements from the city’s $40 million park bond, which was passed in 2018.
According to Brennan, construction plans have been submitted for permitting, and the project will go out to bid once those permits are approved. Construction is expected to start in early 2023.
Planned improvements include a larger parking lot and new building at the dog park, which will include restrooms, a pavilion, and a deck; a new playground and playground area with restrooms and a small pavilion; and a larger pavilion.
Brennan said that the city also plans to clean up the parks’ existing garden club area. The city will consider if the budget allows for a new pavilion for that area, and also consider a new stage area.
Resident Mike Elliot said that he was happy to see the city move forward with improvements in Brookhaven Park after years of back and forth with the county.
“Having been involved with the Brookhaven Park Conservancy for the past 15 years, the City of Brookhaven’s ownership of the entire park was welcomed and immediately noticed – most notably by their removal of the ugly decrepit chain link fence that fronted on Peachtree Road,” Elliot said. “Removal of this eyesore has been an objective of the BP Conservancy since its inception, and Brookhaven Park now looks much more attractive and inviting.”