Oakhurst Dog Park going to the humans

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt December 2, 2014
Jay Weaver, a founding partner with Weaver Capital Partners, and Ken Collins, CFO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, speak to Oakhurst residents during a Dec. 1 meeting. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Jay Weaver, a founding partner with Weaver Capital Partners, and Ken Collins, CFO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, speak to Oakhurst residents during a Dec. 1 meeting. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The wooded area of the Oakhurst Dog Park provides a place for pups to frolic and play. It’s also sitting on a piece of the dog park that’s not in a flood plain.

That makes it valuable, something that’s not lost on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. They’ve received an offer from Weaver Capital Partners. The developer wants to purchase the half acre of property, subdivide it, cut down the trees and build two homes there. It would represent a 32 percent decrease in the overall area of the park.

About 10 people showed up to an input meeting held on Dec. 1 at the Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls Club on East Lake Drive. Jay Weaver, a founding partner with the development firm, and Ken Collins, CFO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta were on hand to answer any questions.

While the city maintains the dog park, it is owned by the Boys & Girls Club, which leases it to the city for $1 a year.

Collins said while he understands the concerns residents have about turning a green space over to a developer, but said the park falls outside of the scope of services Boys & Girls Club provides.

“That’s not our mission, to be honest with you,” he said. “It’s not to provide dog parks.”

Weaver said he’s also made an offer to the property owner of the area behind the dog park, but the owner isn’t interested in selling. He said the development will comply with the city’s recently-updated tree ordinance, which requires compensation for trees removed from properties during the course of a development. Residents asked Weaver to replant some of the trees to be a buffer between the new homes and the rest of the park.

The subdivision of the property will be discussed at a Planning Commission meeting on Dec. 9 at 7 pm and a City Commission meeting on Dec. 15, at 7:30 pm. Both meetings are open to the public and will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street.

There will be opportunities for public input, but residents at the meeting conceded there is little that can be done to stop the project. It doesn’t mean they have to like it.

“The wooded part is what makes our dog park stand out and be special,” resident Melissa Rockwell said. “I have a dog that really enjoys running through the woods, and it will stink to lose that.”

A map showing the portion of the dog park that's being sold to a developer. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

A map showing the portion of the dog park that’s being sold to a developer. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • arturo

    Continue the war on TREES!

  • Graybeard

    inb4 they squeeze two 5br/4b monster homes onto that parcel

  • Leif Terry

    Repeating a previous question: Is there any possibility that the city could buy the property outright and keep it as a park? Citizens volunteers have been working hard turning it into a great park (esp. the wooded area).
    As a taxpayer, I certainly prefer that.

  • Melissa

    Leif. That question was asked last night. The reply from the Boys and Girls club was that it was “always a possibility” but frankly he wasn’t overly sincere. I think the fact that we were meeting with a developer said a lot vs meeting with the city.

    • Leif Terry

      Thank you Melissa. One more question. Do we know why there is a particular developer involved? Why not sell the parcels on the open market?

  • King Tommen

    Don’t worry about the loss of shade. These houses will be tall enough to block most of the sun.

  • Amy

    “That’s not our mission, to be honest with you,” he said. “It’s not to provide dog parks.” What is their mission anyway….

    • MotherOfSwonk

      From the Boys & Girls Club of America website: Our mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

  • Leif Terry

    “Hometown Hero” Lee Goldsmith (http://www.decaturga.com/index.aspx?page=716) is organizing dog park regulars and volunteers to try to find a better solution.

    If you want to help, you can contact Lee at crackerflax@gmail.com

    Watch for updates on the Oakhurst Dog Park Facebook page:

  • GoodFaith

    Curious… B&GC was allowed to purchase 5 acres of CoD park land to fulfill their mission. Since when did B&GC’s mission become flipping park land to a developer? I would be interested to pull the deed and see if the CoD had enough sense back then to place some restrictions on future use. After all it was already a park then and was sold to B&GC in good faith to fulfill their *stated* mission.

  • bgcmom

    maybe if some of you actually went inside the Boys & Girls Club and volunteered you would KNOW what the mission is. It has nothing to do with dog parks….too bad you people aren’t as concerned about the underprivileged children that attend the club. Where was your concern when they were under funded and needed money for programs, field trips, scholarships, after-school snacks? only worried about having a place for your dogs to poop instead of the growing humans inside the building.

    • Don’t be a hater

      That’s a ridiculous statement to make. Its like saying that because you care about having paved streets to drive on, you don’t care about people who die from treatable diseases because don’t have healthcare. We all lead busy lives. Just because everyone in the city of Atlanta or Decatur isn’t focused on the boys and girls club doesn’t mean that they are uncaring. Its not a productive attitude. Myself, I had no idea that the property was even owned by the boys and girls club. I’d be willing to bet that a number of those who regularly take their dogs to that park actually DO contribute in one way or the other to the B&Gs club. Its not fair to make assumptions.
      I think the better way to approach the issue would be (or would have been) for the boys and girls club to make an appeal to the city or users of the park to give them an alternative to selling the land in order to meet their financial needs. Instead, this action may only breed ill will – and who is going to be on the losing end of that? Not exactly in the community spirit…
      If the B&Gs club wants to set an example for youth, perhaps they should not be taking away community space before offering options – all in the name of $$$. How are the kids supposed to feel about that? Don’t you think some of them use that park??

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