As the city of Dunwoody prepares to move the dog park in Brook Run Park, officials are asking dog owners for their input to see what features they would like to see included in the design.
But some dog owners say they don’t want to see any changes at all.
“We’re desperate to see it stay where it is,” dog owner Chantal Anderson told members of Dunwoody City Council on May 28. “Just keep our park, please. … For us, it’s a social thing. We don’t go to bars so we hang out at the dog park.”
Anderson was one of several dog owners who attended the council meeting to ask that the city leave the dog park alone.
On May 16, city officials presented two possible designs for a new dog park and asked people to pick their favorite and share any other comments they might have about the new dog park.
City officials plan to move the dog park within Brook Run to make way for a multi-use trail and to preserve the land, which has suffered from years of use by the dogs.
Mary Jo Thrasher, who volunteers on the board of the Brook Run Dog Park Association, said she is happy with Dunwoody’s efforts.
“They’re really bending over backward to try to incorporate what we’re asking for,” Thrasher said. “I’ve been really impressed.”
Thrasher said the Brook Run Dog Park Association sees water stations, shade and restrooms as priorities for the new dog park. And though she was initially unhappy about the city moving the dog park, she is pleased with the proposed designs for the new location.
“We were really opposed to it for a long time,” Thrasher said. “The city really seems to be making a true effort. They’re trying to be good stewards of the land while helping the dogs have a good off-leash experience.”
But others attending the public meeting at Brook Run were not pleased.
Brian Paul and Laura Davis, who said they take their white German shepherd Jack to the Brook Run dog park every day, expressed concerns that the new park will be smaller and offer fewer trees for shade.
“The reason everyone loves this park is the shade,” Davis said. “In the highest heat of the summer you can take your dog here.”
Paul also worries that the new location may be too crowded.
“We like this one,” he said. “They’re going to move it, but what can we do?”
Dog owners at the council meeting also worried about the loss of shade. “We love our existing dog park because of the canopy of trees, which keeps it cool, even in summer,” Saul Sloman said.
Parks and Recreation Manager Brent Walker said the city will incorporate all the feedback into the final plan for the park.
The city’s plan is to use about 1/4 of an acre to 1/3 of an acre as a small dog play area and to create two areas for large dogs. The large dog area being used will change every three to four months to allow the land in one area to rest while the other is in use.
“It will give us an opportunity to come in and do grass restoration … while the other side is active,” Walker said. “That way the dog park is always open.”