A proposed trail that would lead from a nearby neighborhood to a future park on Vermack Road in Dunwoody is already causing issues, and it hasn’t even been built yet.
Neighbors near the proposed 10-acre site are opposed to the construction of a trail that would connect the neighborhood to the park, citing safety, drainage and privacy issues.
At the Oct. 24 Dunwoody City Council meeting, homeowners from
Village Mill and Heritage at Dunwoody presented a petition with more than 160 signatures representing 82 households asking for the path to be eliminated from the master plan.
According to the residents, although several council members have told the homeowners that they support its removal, the trail remains in the proposed plans.
The city held a two-hour open house at the park on Dec. 10 and laid out signage and boundaries for the amenities that would be offered at the park. Included in the setup were cones indicating where the walking trail would be located.
Keri Fritz, whose property abuts the proposed trail, in a letter sent to city officials, said during the open house, she saw a man peering into her back yard from the marked area.
“It was very jarring to say the least,” Fritz said. “I stepped out on my patio and said, ‘Excuse me, you are not to be there,’ to which he looked right at me and said, “It’s my right to be here – this is public property.’”
Later, a father and daughter approached her back yard, and started walking towards her barking dog, whose head was poking through the iron fence.
“The small girl, curious, starting walking towards my dog whose head was through the fence and I had to yell at her not to touch him because he will bite,” Fritz said. I’m not sure when my fence line and looking into my yard and my personal life condones harassment but the city is allowing this to happen.”
Fritz said she immediately went to the community forum and saw the flags and cones that indicated where the trail would run.
“I personally am outraged that my privacy is now in jeopardy, and I’m very concerned for the safety of my family/home and fearful of my dog, should someone not pay attention,” she said. “This is all due to city actions and ignorance to our asks and concerns.”
When reached for comment, Dunwoody city officials did not specifically address Fritz’ concerns but provided a general statement.
“Public input is an important part of master planning for our parks,” Brett Walker, the city’s parks and recreation director, said. “`For the park at Vermack, we began listening to feedback more than a year ago, and we continued that process with Saturday’s open house. We take all comments to heart in working toward a final concept.”
The 2023 parks budget does not include any funds for construction, which will cost about $4 million. The council had discussed funding Vermack and other parks improvements with a $30 million parks bond, but in September decided not to put a parks bond referendum on the ballot in November.
Discussions about putting a parks bond referendum on the ballot in 2023 are ongoing.