Yes, we need more playing fields for our kids and, yes, we would like the prestige of having a large, beautiful, and enjoyable complex with multi-use playing fields to be used in Johns Creek and surrounding areas. But, if we are going to create such a place (and spend sixteen million dollars doing it), we need to do it the right way, and not hurriedly proceed with a location simply because the acreage is available. This is, however, unfortunately, what the City is doing with respect to Cauley Creek Park on the 2-lane Bell Road, at Rogers Bridge Road.
The current plans for the 133-acre, currently-undeveloped park include, among other things, at least 13 playing fields and parking for 1,200 vehicles. Despite the enormity of the project, which is by far the biggest of the Johns Creek park buildouts, the City plans to install the sporting complex (let’s call a spade a spade, it is not a “park”) with essentially no investigation into whether the location is actually feasible.
For instance, while the City conducted a traffic study (completed in 2016 and just released to the public yesterday), the study concluded that current road conditions were insufficient for the complex, modifications would be needed, and that additional studies should be performed. The City, however, has performed no additional studies, and the traffic data used was from 2010 to 2015 – two or more years old at this point. This also did not include the impact of the 2 large subdivisions built in the area recently, Bellmoore (~650 homes) & Brookmere (194 homes).
Further, the City has not done, or at least not provided to the public, any environmental study regarding the impact the development will have on protected wildlife living in the area, no information as to the level of light and noise pollution (i.e., to what field lighting and PA systems will be installed), no information as to how this development will affect the security of this purely residential area, and no information on the cost to maintain the complex and whether the complex can cover its costs.
We need to put more thought into this before spending sixteen million dollars.
Support for building the complex at this location seems short-sighted.
A beautiful new location for children to play sports would be great, but is it really so great once you realize you will be sitting in miles (literally miles) of traffic on a two-lane road to get to and from games? Will it be so great when you realize you will have seemingly never-ending battles with residents over lighting, PA systems, and hours of operation?
Will it be so great when you realize the fields are on a floodplain, which leads to canceled games?
Do not let the glamor of the renderings fool you; we need to look at context. Let’s not rush into this, especially when we have an alternative location in Dean Gardens off Old Alabama.