Brookhaven Park at the corner of Osborne Road and Peachtree Road will soon have an approximately 5-acre area fenced off for use by dog owners and their off-leash dogs, a compromise finally reached after several years of drawn out debate.

A design of Brookhaven Park that includes where a proposed chain link fence would go to designate approximately 5 acres for dogs to run off leash. (City of Brookhaven)

The city announced July 27 that steps are underway to install approximately 1,000 feet of a chain link fence within a month to keep dogs in the designated 5-acre area in the northwest corner of the park, near Post Brookhaven apartments. City staff worked with members of the Brookhaven Park Conservancy to come up with the solution.

The decision to install a fence came after a proposal by Councilmember Bates Mattison to implement on-leash and off-leash hours at the park. The majority of the council instead supported a large fenced off area.

The fence solution allows dog owners and their pets to continue to enjoy the park that has become a de facto off-leash dog park over many years while allowing visitors who do not want to be around off-leash dogs to enjoy the park and its amenities in the remaining approximate 10 acres.

A dog-friendly double-gated entry system is being designed to keep dogs within the designated area, and the proposed plan calls for at least two entries: one on the northeast side and one on the south-facing side of the area, according to a city press release.

“We received clear instruction from City Council and the community,” said City Manager Christian Sigman in a prepared statement. “We are now moving with all due haste to resolve this important issue and preserve this heritage area as the world-class off-leash dog park that it has become that can be shared with those who prefer to visit the park pet-free.”

Brookhaven’s ordinance states that all pets must be restrained while off the property of the owner, “except in city parks that are specifically designated by signage and fencing as off-leash areas.”

Since the park is home to popular events such as the Brookhaven Chili Festival, consideration had to be given to having a fence that could be easily removed so that on festival days the entire park can be utilized.

Since preparations for major festivals can take approximately one to two days to set up the event, during these times fencing will be removed and dog owners can have use of the park with exception of the morning of the festival. Dog owners would be allowed back into the area one hour after the advertised close of the festival. All festival food trucks will be located on the lower park fields.

Improvements and amenities for Brookhaven Park are also under consideration, including a raised dog washing station with two bays for simultaneous washing of dogs; additional “doggy and me” water fountains; additional pet stations; and more leash stations.

These improvements would be accomplished through a site-specific master plan under development and funded with the $6 million allotted by the Brookhaven City Council under the approval of a $40 million bond referendum at the July 24 council meeting. The referendum will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.