Letter to the Editor: Cauley Creek Sports Complex: Do We Have More Money Than Sense?

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.

7 Responses to Letter to the Editor: Cauley Creek Sports Complex: Do We Have More Money Than Sense?

  1. Tom Holda says:

    Well said. Currently Johns Creek has over 200 acres of Parks, so why are we trying to put this Sports Complex of 133 acres on a single lane Road ? Why are we trying to almost double up the “Park ” space in one swoop?
    There are locations that have access with larger, 2 and 4 lane Roads available.
    This are is pristine, lets make some nature trails there and KEEP IT GREEN.
    We need to breath air, not exhaust fumes….

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the informative article JCP. It made me think about one of the things I heard Warren Buffett say earlier this week on CNBC. He said one of the many reasons his organization exercises an enormous amount of analysis and patience acquiring assets is because when you buy a great asset it turns out really great, and when you buy a bad one it turns out really bad and expensive.

    Given all of the unknowns mentioned in your article, I hope our City hits the pause button and takes a hard look at this project given we already spent over $18 million to buy the land and we’re now considering another $16+ million to develop it, in addition to the unknown long term maintenance costs and other costly projects to accommodate all of the folks coming from North Fulton, Forsyth, and Gwinnett counties to utilize our complex. And, there’s only 3 already highly traveled entry and exit roads to get to and from our complex.

    I also hope the City conducts a “lesson learned” assessment to determine why we rushed to purchase this asset without thoroughly exercising due diligence. Going forward, I’d much rather see us learn from other local governments mistakes versus our own; we’ll save a lot of money if we do this.

  3. John Bradberry says:

    Be careful! With the City’s current modus operandi, they will build the sports complex bigger than our infrastructure can support and then use the complaints of too much traffic as the excuse to widen the road. When you really think about it, this has been our pattern. If we don’t band together and fight, we will soon see the urbanization of most of our arterial roads.

  4. Michael Carroll says:

    It’s beyond comprehension that our City officials have little or no concern for the residents of this area . There seems to be little if any regard for the real people who will suffer for years as they , first, overrun Bell Road with traffic ( already happening ) , and then destroy our ability to get to and from work , etc . Take photos now because the beauty and tranquility of Bell Road and others in our once fair city are fading fast . Any time that one complains to our Mayor about the type of growth that our city is embracing I.e. high density housing and billboards , he scapegoats by claiming that the city has no legal choice . With more viable and less expensive and less disruptive options available, what excuse will he and the others use this time when this proposed complex reeks havoc on the lives of all of those who chose to live off Bell road for its beauty and tranquility ? Reflect back to when the purchase of the property was being touted as green space used for walking trails etc . Now a sports complex ? Now up to 1200 parking spaces and the inevitable adding of two more lanes of traffic on Bell road , along with the destruction of its beauty ? This , along with future plans to make Mcguiness Ferry road a pass through for 18 wheelers to connect from 400 to I 85 . Seemingly no regard for our investment in our city or our lifestyle or property values . Mayor Bodker , you and your cohorts can’t use the same old ” my hands are tied excuse ” that you’ve always used as our city becomes something that none of ever imagined when we chose to plant our lives here . More disgraceful shortsitedness !!! Yikes !

  5. EJ Moosa says:

    You know these things. But do your neighbors? Do they still get all their puff pieces on Johns Creek from the Herald?

    Cauley Creek? Ask yourself how long before we are told that is yet another reason for the Central Business District? All those folks need a place to eat and be entertained, right?

    The most important thing we can do is talk to our neighbors. Most have no idea what is going on in Johns Creek. If we want to go in a different direction, it is more important than ever to make sure that we turn out in the fall election and choose a different path for Johns Creek.

    Be sure to think about the following:

    On a per capita(resident) basis, residential real estate values have fallen by 10.79% over the last ten years.

    On a per capita(resident) basis, commercial real estate values have climbed by 17.10% over the last ten years.

    On a per capita(resident) basis, personal income has fallen by 32.39% over the last ten years.

    At least the commercial property owners are happy. Now imagine if we had a City Council who were focused on the residents and not the commercial sector.

    Source of the above data is the Johns Creek CAFR for 2016.

  6. Marsha Tomlinson says:

    Then vote for a new mayor and new council members this November. Some that share your concerns. Don’t sit on your hands and do nothing.

Comments