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Neighborhood Pushes for Briarcliff Park

Groups visualize park in area adjoining former Briarcliff Library building, including unused county school property.

Former Briarcliff Library. (Photo courtesy of Friends of Briarcliff Park)
Former Briarcliff Library. (Photo courtesy of Friends of Briarcliff Park)
Friends of Briarcliff Park continue to look for a way to achieve their dream -- a park in the area of the former Briarcliff Library property which the county wants to sell.

The group, working with the North Druid Hills Residents Association, brought in a park planner Tuesday night to brainstorm ideas for a park adjoining the former library building at 2775 Briarcliff Road, between Clairmont and North Druid Hills roads. The groups will meet again next Tuesday to discuss what the planner has created.

The neighborhood groups have a tight deadline to get something together as the Community Council for District 2 will meet Dec. 17 and the next Planning Commission meeting is Jan. 7.  The county Board of Commissioners are scheduled to hear the matter Jan. 28.

Alan Pinsker of NDHRA said it was important for the groups to at least have a conceptual master plan to take to the council that "shows you're serious."

The audience walked through several options after learning earlier Tuesday that the county's legal analysis found that greenspace bond funds cannot be used to purchase the current library property from the county. Commissioner Jeff Rader's office told Susan Coryell, Friends of Briarcliff Parks' executive director, "We are now exploring subdivision of the property with a portion designated for greenspace use."

Undeterred, neighborhood residents discussed creating a park by possibly combining the flood plain portion of the library property along with another piece of property that is owned by the school system. That property, running parallel to Fern Creek, is behind Margaret Harris Comprehensive School on Knob Hill Drive.

The unused school property has been an informal neighborhood dog park, and those attending Tuesday's meeting discussed how to strike the right balance in their plan to turn the park into a community gathering place with recreation for children and a dog park, all while providing the county with a reasonable way of selling the building property.

Neighborhood resident David Tulis pointed out that the area -- bound by I-85, North Druid Hills, Clairmont and Lavista roads -- has 5,100 residents, with 600 children and 1,200 adults aged 55 and over.

The park group had been energized after Rader successfully asked in November for a 60-day full cycle deferral on the rezoning of the library property from RM150 to O & I (Office & Institutional). Rader and county officials had met with neighborhood residents previously on the proposed rezoning and the property sale, and the idea for a park emerged in those meetings.

The Briarcliff Library was closed three years ago after the county system changed its model to large-size branches. It is one of three closed properties it has sought to sell. The other locations are the former Scott Candler Library in Decatur and the former Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library.
Kay Clark December 04, 2013 at 05:31 PM
This part of town really needs a large dog park with amenities. Something that's more than the fenced in empty squre with no shade that's down the road a ways. A scaled down version of Piedmont Park would perfect.
de Oliveira December 08, 2013 at 03:14 PM
I live near the intersection of Briarcliff Road and Clairmont Road and, although there are sidewalks available, there is nowhere to "go for a walk" to, except restaurants and gas stations. I would like to see a park at the old library site as a walk destination for residents, where we could take our children and dogs to play.

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