Clearing up some confusion

Posted on behalf of the Needham Park Steering Committee

Friends of Needham Park is aware that there is a great deal of confusion and misrepresentation about the intent of our Friends group. We’re also aware that another group, the Real Friends of Needham Park, recently distributed a postcard directing people to an online petition. These actions are not only confusing but also cripple our opportunity, as neighbors, to work together toward a common goal.

The postcard and petition implies that the Friends of Needham Park group presents a threat to Needham Park. The Friends of Needham Park seeks here to clarify. Our goal is to create a community-driven plan for a safe, well-maintained park that is an asset to all community members as well as our local environment.

Neither Friends of Needham Park, nor Park Pride, have any preconceived notions regarding elements or programming for this park. A desired conceptual design for the park will be completed by the community over the process of three additional public meetings: March 2, April 18, and June 15. The plan that evolves does not carry weight of law and is not a mandate: it is a record of the community’s wishes. Elements, such as a playground as noted on the petition, would only be included if the community as a majority sees this as a need. Preliminary findings do not support this. All voices, including those signing the petition, are needed to make this an inclusive process.

After reading the comments on the petition, we are encouraged to know that the responses completely support the voices we heard in our public community meeting on January 26. The petition’s responses also align with feedback collected by the survey distributed by the Friends of Needham Park. We all agree! Everyone wants to preserve this greenspace. 🌳

Contrary to allegations, no trees are threatened by the efforts or ideas of the Friends of Needham Park. However, trees are threatened by unchecked stream bank erosion, increasingly severe stormwater runoff, and unmanaged invasive plant species. In short, trees are threatened by ignoring these issues.

The petition’s author, Mr. Robert Brock, is a member of the Steering Committee for Needham Park. Mr. Brock has and will continue to relay concerns to the Steering Committee and Friends of Needham Park, but he is working independently of this Steering Committee when creating and managing any online petition for the Real Friends of Needham Park. We regret any confusion, but please know that the responses to the petition are concerns we want to hear. Please feel free to contact Friends of Needham Park with any questions or concerns you have.

The visioning process for Needham Park is meant to create an open forum where we, the community, can work together, face-to-face and around a table, to create a viable plan for a park that is safe, well-maintained, and that meets the current and future needs of our growing community.

ALL community members are invited to take part in the Friends of Needham Park group. Factions within the community do not make for better neighborhoods. They divide us and devolve into virtual squabbles where people never come together to share ideas and get the facts about what is going on in the improvement process. We encourage and welcome all community members to take part in the public visioning meetings; to meet and talk to your neighbors; to voice concerns to representatives from the DeKalb County Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Affairs department; and to talk with your public officials. The conversations at the public meetings are productive and inclusive of all viewpoints.

Please review the guiding principles for Needham Park that were created based on feedback from our first public meeting. These principles will guide any conceptual vision plans. This vision plan will be the community’s plan, and your participation is necessary and welcomed whole-heartedly.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Guiding principles

  • Protect, preserve, and enhance Needham Park’s tree canopy, stream system, and natural habitat
  • Create opportunities in Needham Park to build community
  • Provide safe access to, circulation through, and community awareness of Needham Park
  • Create a peaceful, safe, and educational place to enjoy nature

Public meeting dates

Mark your calendars for our upcoming public meetings, and keep an eye on our Facebook page for details!

  • March 2, 2019
  • April 18, 2019
  • June 15, 2019