Now this group is trying to do something that I haven't been able to get the county to comment on for months and that is to answer the question, Why are the back 30 acres of Brook Run park still closed to the public? JAWITP has written a letter to the DeKalb Parks Department asking to expand the dog park into the closed area and with Henry Jones as a supporter of the idea, how could Mr. CEO and the parks department say no?
All 102 acres of the park need to be used on a regular basis because it is this use by everyday citizen's that keeps the facilities in working order and keeps those who would otherwise be up to no good, away. A good example of this would be the building being used by the handball athletes, they may not have fulfilled their promise of handball lessons to the community but because they were there; that building has been maintained with running water & electricity and there is little or no graffiti in sight.
To let everyone in on a secret that hasn't been kept very well, the back of the park is open with walking trails leading directly back and there are numerous holes in the fences that anyone could slip past if they really wanted to. At one point even the construction gate leading to the back was ripped from it's hinges and months later hadn't been replaced by the county. So to say that the back is closed is a misnomer, it's open but not patrolled by the security officer who is usually stationed at the front guard shack and the County probably wouldn't want to be liable if you were running on the rocky soil they used as fill dirt and got hurt because of the rough terrain. Other than that, it's open and I am guessing that it is being used on a regular basis.
I am really interested in seeing the reply from Ms. Marilyn Boyd-Drew, Director of DeKalb Parks because the demolition contract is over, site restoration has been completed and the County has even signed off that all of the asbestos was cleaned up properly.
So what is the hold up? I'm not sure but I have been asking for quite a while, June 3rd, 2008, October 17, 2007 and September 12, 2007.
Below is the letter from JAWITP requesting the expansion of the dog park.
Marilyn Boyd-Drew, Director
Parks and Recreation Department
1300 Commerce Drive, Suite 200
Decatur GA 30030
Dear. Ms. Boyd-Drew,
This note is in response to our discussion at the May meeting of the Citizens Advisory Board.
Immediately after the off-leash area at Brook Run Park opened in January, 2006, CEO Vernon Jones responded to privacy concerns from a neighboring subdivision and ordered the size of the original area reduced by nearly half. His commitment at that time was to expand the off-leash area across the creek and up the hill to where the hospital building stood. Now that that area has been cleared, and with the increased traffic with warmer weather, carrying out Mr. Jones’s commitment would be appropriate and timely.
Forty percent of households have dogs. What the off-leash area at Brook Run has afforded those DeKalb citizens is the opportunity to use the public green space for all the reasons those green spaces exist. Dogs are “socialized,” which is beneficial for them as pack animals, and they get the exercise they need. Much more importantly, the park serves the people of the community. Users of the park get outside much more than they would otherwise. They can walk with their dogs in a beautiful green space rather than the street. And the park has offered a wonderful place for DeKalb citizens to make new friends and to meet with old friends.
The off-leash area occupies about two acres in a hundred acre park, but accounts for much more than two percent of the park’s use. An expansion to double its space seems reasonable. Four percent of the park’s space to serve forty percent of the community seems very reasonable.
When we at Just a Walk in the Park adopted the park, we made a commitment to help the county keep the area clean, healthy and enjoyable to use. We have done that to the best of our ability. Our commitment to the park is demonstrated by the activities we have performed:
- We have twice provided a FREE seminar on dog behavior and dog park etiquette.
- We have twice provided FREE six-week sessions of basic dog obedience training classes.
- We used our own money to purchase an additional bench for visitors' seating within the dog park.
- We continually clean the park of both human trash and dog waste. Volunteers gather every single month to maintain this, a county property. Maintenance workers tell us that ours is the only park in the county that has such a support group, and they admire our diligence in maintaining the park ourselves. We call upon the Maintenance Dept. only when absolutely necessary.
- We have taken it upon ourselves to bring in fill dirt to repair holes dug by dogs.
- Our volunteers recently devoted three hours of a Saturday morning to clear away more than two years’ worth of debris that was causing damage to the fence line. In addition, we planted both monkey grass and grass seed which not only beautifies the park but contributes to the protection of the grounds.
The commitment shown by 200 JAWITP members would of course extend to an expanded area. We will do whatever we can to maintain this most needed space, including fund raising for any expenses beyond the county’s budget restraints. The enclosed petition with 350 signatures, collected almost casually in a weekend, indicates the depth of community support for the park.
Laine Sweezey, President