Some members of Dunwoody City Council say they object to the location of the controversial dog park in Brook Run Park, but they’re not too crazy about the city’s plans for an alternative, either.
The current location “is the wrong place for this dog park to be,” Councilwoman Lynn Deutsch said. “[But] we don’t have a perfect solution.”
At the council’s Dec. 9 meeting, council members apparently decided to keep looking. They deferred a vote to hire a company to build a new dog park in a different part of Brook Run. Old Mountain Contracting Co. bid $290,983, later reduced through negotiation to $255,983, for the work. The city had budgeted $195,000.
“They need to go back to the drawing board,” Beverly Armento, past president of the homeowners association of the Lakeview Oaks subdivision, which lies just across the fence from a portion of the park, said after the council voted to delay action on the park. “Maybe Brook Run is not the right place. Let’s just consider where’s the best place in Dunwoody to have a dog park.”
City staff members say the dogs using the present dog park damage trees and cause erosion. “Because of its popularity, the area that the current dog park resides in is in need of extensive rehabilitation,” city Parks and Recreation Manager Brent Walker wrote in a memorandum to the council.
City officials propose to move the 4-acre dog park from the edge of Brook Run, where it is near a neighborhood, to a slightly smaller site nearer the entrance to the park. They say the park should be managed so it creates less damage.
Dog park supporters, who regularly call the existing park one of the best in the metro area, say the city’s plan will ruin the park. Many turned out to fill the council chamber for the vote Dec. 9. “Once you decide to move the dog park, for me, it’s over,” Dunwoody resident Marie Christiansen told the council. “I’m not going to have a dog park anymore.”
Other supporters of the current park say they like the location among Brook Run’s trees argue the new location for the park could create safety issues because it is close to a playground and skate park. “It’s ideally located now,” Nancy Woodruff told the council members. “It’s a destination for people and dogs.”
But residents of the Lakeview Oaks subdivision, which lies just over the fence from the dog park, see it as a nuisance and say they city already has agreed to move it. “The council has already voted to move the dog park,” Armento said. “This is a decision you made based on knowledge.”
Council members questioned whether moving the park to the location near Brook Run’s entrance might not simply create a problem for residents of a different neighborhood. They asked city staff members to determine how far it would be from the new location to nearby homes.
Deutsch also said she objected to dog park users being forced to share parking at the new location with other park users. She questioned whether the problem may be that the dog park is too big and too popular.
“One of the challenges we have with our dog park is it is regional in nature,” she said. “That’s a problem. When people say to me, ‘But we love it so,’ I say, ‘Go home to your communities and replicate what you love.’ We owe it to the neighborhood to remove this.”
Other council members seemed to think a solution could be found.
“This is a dispute between a neighborhood and a dog park,” Councilman Doug Thompson said. “This cries out for compromise. I’ve seen some movement from the dog park [supporters]. I’m not sure I’ve seen the neighborhoods have been very flexible. … I think both sides can negotiate.”