Briarwood Park is receiving a makeover, with a new playground and pavilion area under construction.
Chad Boles, leader of the Friends of Briarwood Park, said these two improvements are part of a long-term revitalization plan for the park.
Though Briarwood Park is in the city of Brookhaven, it is still owned by DeKalb County. The county’s Parks and Recreation Department is installing a new playground, which is set to open May 9.
“At the new playground, there’s two areas. One area that’s for ages 2 to 8, the second area with larger equipment for ages 8 to 12,” Boles said.
The Friends of Briarwood Park are building what they call a “forest patio,” a landscaped pavilion area where the old playground was removed.
“It’s got new landscaping and will eventually house a community garden. We’ll have a trail that will run the length of the new landscaped area,” Boles said. “The vision for that area would be eventually we’ll be able to have community events, more outdoor social activities.”
Volunteers have been working hard on nights and weekends to get the community garden built in time to plant spring crops.
On a recent afternoon, several Drew Valley residents shoveled soil into wheelbarrows to move into the garden area.
Greg Trinkle said he enjoys walking his dog on the trails in Briarwood Park and he wants to give his time to help make the park better for his neighbors. “There’s always been a lot of activism in this area. It’s contagious,” Trinkle said.
Rob Turner, who came out to work with his four children, said he wanted to see improvements in the park but was tired of waiting around for the county to do it.
“This is the American way. You’ve got to do it yourself,” Turner said. “We’re taking the diamond in the rough and we’re polishing it.”
Boles said the project is possible thanks to donations and volunteers. “Everything in that project has been donated: time, materials, everything except the water meter. We had to pay DeKalb County for the water meter. But everything else has been donated by local corporations,” Boles said.
The Friends of the Park started planning regular work days last May to clean up the park.
“It’s been really neat. The community has come out in force and these volunteers are working their guts out. This is hard work,” Boles said.
In addition to cleaning up the grounds, Boles said the Friends of Briarwood Park would eventually like to have enough money to upgrade the pool and recreation center at the park.
“We’re all very interested in seeing a central area for our kids and families to meet and play together,” Boles said.