Welcome to the Oakhurst Dog Park website!
A Little History
In 1971, the City of Decatur sold approximately five acres of land to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of America (BGCA) for $15,000 to support their mission of serving the community. The BGCA erected their main building there and subsequently added a ball field next to it.
The Boy’s and Girl’s Club has leased the rest of the land, including both a forested area and a flood plain, back to the City of Decatur as a dog park for a dollar per year.
Recently, Weaver Capital Partners approached the BGCA and proposed buying the forested portion of the dog park (the flood plain cannot be developed) for private development. They propose to build two single-family houses where the forested area is located.
They petitioned the City of Decatur Planning Commission to allow them to subdivide the property to allow a portion of the land to be sold for development.
Approximately 100 forest lovers and dog park users attended the Planning Commission meeting to voice their concerns and desires. The Planning Commission voted to table the petition to subdivide the property until their next meeting.
Park and forest supporters also spoke at the City Commission meeting the following week. The mayor expressed his hope that a better solution could be found than the one proposed.
The Oakhusrt Dog Park is used by hundreds of people and their dogs every day of the year.
We have organized ourselves into a model of community effort. It has become the new town square, where people cross racial and socio-economic lines to forge lasting relationships, discuss politics and build community. We have had at least one marriage come out of the connections made here, as well many successful business contacts, birthday celebrations, and even spontaneous coffee services!
The dog park is an essential part of the successful rescue and adoption of dogs in Decatur. Visitors have access to a deep and developing shared wisdom on how best to socialize their dogs (and their owners) so they can all become better citizens.
We’re Good Stewards of the Forest
Over the last several years, he dog park community has self-organized and completely transformed the forested area as well as the flood plane:
- Removed invasive species of plants, including vines and ivy
- Trimmed trees properly to support their health
- Removed all garbage and debris
- Built and maintained trails
- Prevented soil erosion
We think it’s the best dog park in the Atlanta Area. Come by and visit. You’ll be welcomed.
Goals and Next Steps
About a dozen dog parkers have coordinated their efforts to find an alternative to selling the forest for private development.
We’re trying to find way thaat the BGCA can get additional funding without having to sell the forest for development. We also want to find a way to keep the Oakhurst Dog Park where it is on a permanent basis.
If you have ideas or want to help, let us know!