In their last meeting of the year, council approved a resolution to support a Department of Natural Resources grant application for the next phase of a multi-use trail to run through the Project Renaissance area over to North Shallowford Road.
If the grant is fully awarded, the city will receive $100,000 which will offset construction and design cost estimated to be $250,000 for this phase. Future phases of the trail are intended to connect the first phase which begins in Brook Run Park with the Project Renaissance trail.
The Brook Run trail, currently under construction, has come under fire from citizens in Dunwoody, nearby Brookhaven and residents whose homes are adjacent to the park. At issue for many is the loss of trees which some say will destroy the urban forest and increase the potential for flooding nearby neighborhoods during heavy rains.
Council also approved paving plans for 2013 and a five-year paving plan. The 2013 plan includes paving Chamblee Dunwoody Road through the intersection with Mt. Vernon Road, but does not include adding bike lanes at this point.
In legal news, council approved a settlement agreement with citizen Joe Hirsch who sued the city for twice denying his application to the Adopt-A-Spot program. Spots adopted are marked by signs which typically bear an applicant or organization name. Hirsch’s application included a request to erect a sign by a group entitled “Dunwoody Public Works Director Michael Smith is a $#%@.” Terms of the settlement included payment to Hirsch of $551, payment for Hirsch’s legal fees of $7,500 and an agreement to erect a sign with the wording “Reserved for Teacher Parking” at a spot along Ashford Center Parkway.
In other news, council approved a contract with Jacobs Engineering, Inc. to implement a community and civic engagement program intended to improve communications between the city and citizens. The firm already supplies marketing and public relations services for the city. The amended contract to increase man hours for this effort will cost the city a little more than $100,000 per year.
City Manager Warren Hutmacher presented the amended contract to council and told them that there is a difference between outward facing public relations and communication between citizens and their government.