The City of Brentwood is in discussions around purchasing 52 acres of land on Old Smyrna Road that could one day become a park for the more than 1,900 homes and residents in the northern section of Brentwood.
According to a news release, the land located at 9135 Old Smyrna Road is currently a farm known as Windy Hill that is owned by Lucy and Wilbur Sensing.
The idea was discussed in the city’s Feb. 6 informational meeting, detailing that the 90-acre property is divided into two tracts and includes several auxiliary buildings, a pond and a historic home built in 1825.
City leaders have proposed acquiring approximately 52 acres of the property for a total of $5.2 million, while the Sensing family intends to place the other 38 acres, which includes the historic home, the pond, and outbuildings, into a conservation easement which will ensure permanent preservation of all 90 acres.
“I think it is extremely admirable that Lucy, Wilbur and the entire Sensing family care enough about this property and its heritage in Brentwood to want to see it preserved for posterity instead of simply selling it for development to the highest bidder. They have been wonderful stewards of the land for many years, and I think it is appropriate that the City play a role in ensuring this property remains a community asset for the future,” Brentwood Mayor Rhea Little said in a news release.
City Manager Kirk Bednar informed the commission that the potential purchase is in accordance with the Brentwood 2030 Plan for Parks, adding that any future park on this property would most likely be a passive park with no active athletic programs.
“This land is in the northern part of Brentwood, which has been on our radar for years to find land for a park in an area which currently doesn’t have a city greenspace,” Bednar said. “The park would go through a future master planning process with input from the community, but the basic vision is that it would be similar to Wikle or Deerwood Parks which have walking and bicycle trails, a playground, and open field areas for daytime use.”
The property is currently zoned for residential use requiring minimum one-acre residential lots if it were to be developed as a subdivision. Bednar said this is the only remaining R-2 zoned property along the historic Old Smyrna Road corridor, which was the city’s earliest settled area by the Mayfield family.
City Commissioner Anne Dunn, who also serves on the Brentwood Historic Commission, agreed that protecting the historic significance and character of this section of Brentwood is important to the city.
“I am so grateful to the Wilbur Sensing family for their commitment to historic preservation and love of the land,” Dunn said. “Because of this, Brentwood residents will have a lovely new 52-acre passive park and the preservation of Windy Hill, one of the oldest homes in our city, and its surrounding 38 acres. What a joy to know such fine people who truly love this city and the legacy of those who came before us.”
“It is our desire to have the pastoral beauty of Windy Hill preserved for all to enjoy as we have for 45 years. We are thankful the City shares this desire and we appreciate the efforts of The Conservation Fund and Brentwood to make this possible,” Lucy and Wilbur Sensing told Brentwood representatives according to the news release.
Representatives from The Conservation Fund, who previously assisted in the city’s purchase of nearly 400 acres for what is now Marcella Vivrette Smith Park, is a national non-profit that works with public and private partners to protect land and water resources and support healthy and vibrant communities, will help to facilitate the proposed land purchase.
Formal consideration of the land purchase will be at a future yet to be determined meeting of the Board of Commissioners and is subject to final contract negotiations.
Funding for the purchase, if approved, would come from a combination of the city’s General Fund balance, Adequate Facilities Taxes, and $150,000 previously raised by the non-profit group Brentwood Green Space for future park land acquisition and development.