Dunwoody axes plans for new park on land owned by First Baptist Church of Atlanta

DUNWOODY, Ga. — Land owned by one of the metro’s most prominent churches will no longer be taken over by the government.

The land in question is a 5-acre lot in Dunwoody that belongs to First Baptist Church of Atlanta.

The city wanted to build a new park there.

The city of Dunwoody thought the land along Peachford Road would be a great spot to put a new city park with softball fields.

“We saw this under-utilized piece of property that hasn’t been used in decades,” Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch said.

The city of Dunwoody planned to vote on eminent domain at their meeting next Monday to acquire the land from First Baptist Church of Atlanta.

The city wants to build a softball complex and had a real estate agent contact the church offering only $350,000, because it’s on a flood plain.

“We were like 350? We’ve turned down almost five million,” Senior Pastor Anthony George said.

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George calls it a breakdown in communication and he’s never heard from anyone on city staff or an elected official.

He told the agent they didn’t want to sell and have future plans to expand on the site.

They’ve also turned down an offer of $4.8 million from a developer who said they could build townhomes there.

“When we declined the offer for 350, the yellow signs went up and the eminent domain process began and I felt like I was suckered punched,” George said.

“This is all part of the process. You put the sign up, put the ad up so you get public input and we did, got lots of public input,” Deutsch said.

The city heard from church leadership, some of its 11,000 members and the community, and decided Wednesday morning in a specially called meeting to cancel the eminent domain process.

The church said its prayers were answered.

“We could not be more pleased. This was the ideal outcome,” George said.

The city says it could still reenter negotiations and will still keep looking for a place to put softball fields.

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