By Rebecca Gaunt
Kennesaw City Council approved a resolution Tuesday to abandon public use and access to Chalker Park.
The 1.3-acre lot is off Poplar Drive, east of Russell Drive, and was previously used as a neighborhood park. In 2015, the city installed new playground equipment and repainted the picnic shelter, swing set and basketball court. The park also received new ADA compliant pathways and a new picnic table.
According to Becca Graham, communication and engagement manager for the city of Kennesaw, the equipment was removed in 2018 due to damage from frequent flooding. She said the equipment and basketball court were also frequently vandalized.
Since falling into disrepair the site has been used as a dumping ground. Photos submitted to the city record show couches and chairs that have been left on the property. Weeds are growing through cracks in the court.
The city’s intent is to swap the land for a 1.44-acre tract bound to the north by Smith Drive, near Cherokee Street in a deal with Sanctuary Properties.
“This is the very first step in the formative exchange of property,” Mayor Derek Easterling said.
The lot that was Chalker Park will be developed as part of Sanctuary’s 57-acre Eastpark Village mixed-use development.
Resident Jason Anderson spoke in opposition to the resolution at the public hearing, saying the park was in use until the city removed amenities.
“You, yourself have taken this down with the sole purpose of exchanging these properties for something else,” Anderson said.
Council member Pat Ferris pointed out that the project has been in development for four years.
“It’s certainly not like we’re hiding anything,” he said.
Council passed the resolution in a unanimous vote.
Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.