Drainage Issues Require New Fencing Inside Adair Dog Park

I’ve received a few pictures already of two fences being erected on both sides of the drainage canal inside of Adair Park’s dog park.  Decatur Active Living Asst. Director Cheryl Burnette was good enough to provide this explanation as to why it is necessary…

As many of the Adair Dog Park users may know, the park has had multiple drainage problems over the past year. There is a drainage channel running down the middle of the park through which rain run- off is directed. Part of the fence boundary runs across the bottom of the drainage. The bottom edge of the fence has been catching a lot of leaves, small limbs and other debris causing the water to be redirected to the east. When this occurs, the water floods the Historic Mary Gay House.

The best solution to this problem was to construct a fence on either side of the drainage channel with an opening at the south end of the park (the top of the hill) so that dogs and dog-owners would still be able to access both sides of the dog park. Leaving the space on either side of the channel was necessary to get equipment up the channel in the event that repairs are needed. Both sides of the park will still be accessible. This solution was a compromise to respond to the need to keep the channel open without reducing the size of the park.

70 thoughts on “Drainage Issues Require New Fencing Inside Adair Dog Park”

    1. My dog is sadden by the City of Decatur’s abrupt decision to cut off his supply to dirty drinking water and the quick ability to leap over the ditch to catch squirrels. Being that my dog is the smartest (he know approximately 300 words), the cutest (he has a plethora of lovers), and the most athletic, I feel that it is only a matter of time that he is able to jump the fence to cross to the the proverbial other side.

      PS.. I know the small dogs that were the alleged escape artists.

    2. Correct, we are not happy. After a brief counsel this afternoon, with Dog-Anonymous, we dogs are calling on our masters for ACTION! Tonight we strike! Bolt cutters! Torches! Bones!

    1. Absolutely. Because I’m fine with nearly breaking an ankle at least once a month, tripping over broken sidewalks, as long as the dogs aren’t inconvenienced. ;-?
      (I assume you’re kidding, but pretty sure some folks around here would think that’s the right idea!)

      1. STG – I’m not kidding.

        And watch where you are going and you won’t fall – that seems to work for me. And if that still doesn’t work, there are lots of subdivisions in Cobb County with perfect sidewalks.

        1. Well, I think that’s a ridiculous idea. Excuse me for giving you credit for thinking so, too. Didn’t mean to offend. In contrast with your comment implying I should move to Cobb County, which I’m fairly sure was meant to cause offense.

          1. Holy Hell, STG, what did you do to anger the blog gods today?!? Please, please tell me that Bulldog, tiptoe and Chewey are actually your alternate screen names and we’ve all been punked!

          2. I’m fairly certain there was a strong element of sarcasm in your post, so I chose to be sarcastic in return. Apologies if you were offended by my statement.

            It appeared as though you thought spending money on sidewalks was more important than building a bridge or walkway for dogs to move from one side of the park to the other. Ther eis no cost comparison at all — it might cost $1,000 to build a wooden bridge with stairs, whereas it would cost thousands of dollars to fix the sidewalks. I wonder how much is being spent on an unneccessary fence?

            1. Yes, I think it’s more important to spend precious tax dollars repairing sidewalks than building an overpass for a bunch of over-privileged, entitled dogs. If it’s that important to get on the other side of the fence, let them dig under it, like god intended.

              BTW, laughing at my own inability to have any sense of humor at all when somebody invites me to move to Cobb County, even in jest. There’s just no joking about some things!

  1. I’m not usually upset by this stuff, but with so little open space where dogs can go without being on a leash, thismakes me sad. I know it’s not the end of the world, but couldn’t they have come up with a better way to fix this rather than cutting the park in half with a big ol’ fence? Does anyone know what the alternatives were?

    1. There is a way around the fence, so the park isn’t really cut in half. I don’t understand why people are upset about it. It’s a bummer that the dogs can’t jump over the drainage channel, sure. But I’m unsure how else they could have fixed it without spending a ton of money.

  2. my Boston terrier / Chihuahua mix looooves jumping over the drainage channel as he is too small to jump over anything else. I’ll have to make him a tiny channel and ramp in my backyard now

  3. Hire a guy to clean out the swale debris on a regular basis. Build a diversion berm outside of the park and along the fence edge to redirect the water or contain it until the water disperses after a storm. And once I go look at the park again I’ll think of a few other ideas. All I know is that my sweet late doggie would be very sad. I think we just killed another fly with a sledgehammer.

  4. When they empty the trash cans at the park, why don’t they clean out the debris in the drainage channel? That would happen at least two times a week. That would be much easier and cheaper. The fence strikes me as serious overkill.

  5. What a stupid solution. All that was needed was a “cow-catcher” type drain and REGULAR MAINTENANCE by city employees. Regular Maintenance WHERE YOU CLEAN OUT STOPPED UP DRAINS AFTER IT RAINS.

    I personally cleaned the drain once. Took me 45 minutes using a pine branch, would have taken 10 minutes with the right tools.

    “The best solution to this problem was to construct a fence”…this is serious BS and a real waste of money.

    1. I agree with that sentiment. It is getting where most all I hear these days from city hall and school senior staff “is serious BS”. Now I feel better, but how to solve the problem?

  6. Completely agree with Bark Boy. No way that building a fence was the best solution. Lazy. This was the best dog park in the city. I hope they seriously reconsider.

  7. I have heard from many people on this subject, and it is clear that the fence is NOT the best solution. If it is the cheapest, that is understandable, but other solutions are available that will not divide the park.

    I have heard talk about the Mary Gay House, but since I can’t substantiate any of it, I won’t post it. I would like to know more about who runs the House, which groups profit/benefit from it, and what they contribute to the city. If this is truly just about protecting a landmark, then fine.

    What I and I believe other City dog owners take issue with is that a very special park–something Decatur could be proud of and point to as something that no surrounding community could boast of–has been… not ruined, but it is no longer great and no longer something for Decatur to be proud of. I’m trying to figure out an analogy for people without dogs, but it’s not possible. This has been a place where dogs and people can socialize outdoors, where they have all had enough room to exercise. Rarely is there poop to be seen, as park users are always considerate and diligent in cleaning up after their animals.

  8. I’m writing City Manager Peggy Merris to request this sillyness be stopped until a sensible solution is considered – suggest you do the same thing if you want your voice to be heard where it counts.

    This might be the easiest solution but it is certainly not the best, for the use of the dog park.

    It may be the best for park maintenance employees that don’t want to do any more work.

    It may be best for engineers that aren’t willing to resolve simple drainage & flow issues, like just build another gully parallel to the fence to carry the water to the existing drain by the Mary Gay house.

    I’m amazed that the city just unilaterally decided to implement this ridiculous and invasive solution with no input from the community.

    Will you please take the time to write before close of business Friday?


    By the way, has the gate at Glenlake dogpark been fixed yet? It broke June 2011 and wasn’t repaired when I was last there in January 2012. What DO we pay all these taxes for ???

    1. The gate has been fixed and broken several times. They finally posted instructions for opening the gate. But some people still can’t read/follow instructions so as of yesterday it was broken.

      Very poor choice of gate latch IMO.

    2. Please do not dis the maintenance folks. Gerry went to bat for the dog owners and he is not to blame for this. He has been at the park often and has graciously explained things, answered questions, and put up with some angry dog owners who don’t realize that he is on their side as much as he can be.

    1. Ha! That’s so funny JT…those exact words just popped into my head as I was reading this thread…these are some serious first-world issues! Wow.

    2. Three–count ’em, three–dog parks in four square miles. Decatur is such a hellhole.

  9. Why don’t they just put a cap on top of the water channel, a la the Piedmont Park lower field? Water would still be able to flow and there would be no need for that ugly (and poorly conceived) fencing.

  10. This is not a good solution. The thing is not just about jumbing the creek or whatever, but several people like to walk around the park with their dogs, including me. Now you will no longer be able to walk arounf the park. This is just silly. They could at least but a little bridge on the other end so you could do that.

  11. What will this fence actually do? How is it going to prevent buildup in the drains? Debris will find its way into the channel. It’s not like the leaves are going to stop falling in a fenced off area.

    1. The problems began when dog owners put rebar in the fence so that small dogs couldn’t go under it. In heavy rainfall, that rebar allows debris to choke the waterway, and the water goes over the sides and floods the Mary Gay house area. The fence allows the city to remove the rebar while still preventing small dogs from leaving the park.

      I had heard that removing the rebar was not a realistic option, as some folks might have just kept putting it back.

      1. Thanks, Al. Seems like the best solution to the rebar issue is for the owners to actually watch their dogs, not build a fence. So we all get to suffer for some people not paying attention.

  12. I agree with most of the comments here. The best thing about the park was how expansive it was. Our dog loved running in circles around the entire place, and it seems kind of stupid to cut it in half with a fence. There must be a few other options. I liked the idea someone else posted about a bridge through the middle, so at least there’s a couple of places to cross.

  13. This seems like an inappropriate, dispuptiv, and expensive solution to a minor problem. Was it discussed by the city with the users of the park or the neighbors before it was announced? If not, that is really poor city management. And who is the Jr. League who seems to be calling the shots here: http://www.jldekalb.org How many of them even live in Decatur and pay taxes. The only activity I see at the Mary Gay house (and I walk past it most everyday) are weddings and all the cars from all over the Metro area. . Those “cabins” they have behind the Gay House did not even come from Decatur… My dog is mad and sad!

  14. This seems like an inappropriate and expensive solution to a minor problem. Was it discussed by the city with the users of the park or the neighbors before it was announced? If not, that is really poor city management. And who is the Jr. League who seems to be calling the shots here: http://www.jldekalb.org How many of them even live in Decatur and pay taxes. The only activity I see at the Mary Gay house (and I walk past it most everyday) are weddings and all the cars from all over the Metro area. . Those “cabins” they have behind the Gay House did not even come from Decatur… My dog is mad and sad!

  15. One other consideration is that this is a safety issue. The fence does allow access between the two halves of the park, but you need to all the way to the South end of the park (farthest from Trinity). A dog can run from one side to the other quite quickly and get into a fight or get hurt, or just poop and it will take the owner several minutes to traverse the same distance. It will be very hard to monitor what the dogs are doing on the other side of the two fences. Whereas with the park intact as it was, the dogs and the distance where always in line of sight.

  16. What a horrible solution to this problem. Yes, there is a small access point from one side if the park to the other, but the fence *does* cut the park in half for all practical purposes, and looks utterly ugly and unwelcoming taboot. Makes me angry and sad that such a step was taken. Like others have noted – there are lots of other potential solutions that would have serviced the community better.

  17. The Jr. League seems like an excellent organization, and it is totally understandable that they would want to fix a problem that is not only hurting their business, but potentially threatening a historical landmark. I would be bummed, too, if something I was involved with had a dog park pop up next to it one day. Same goes for the folks in the condos surrounding it.

    That being said, I would bet that there are way more Decatur residents who value an excellent, expansive dog park than those who value a place for weddings. I’m not saying that in a mean way, just stating what I believe to be true. And I’m not saying that the Mary Gay house or Jr. League should in any way NOT be considered. What I’m saying, and what I’ve heard other dog park users say is that a better solution should have been implemented, like a concrete or steel panel covering of the ditch. Hell, if money were an issue, I would bet that the difference could have been raised by dog park users in a day! I would really like to know WHY and how the decision to put up the fence was decided upon. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that someone decide to give a big F.U. to the users of the dog park.

    If it seems like folks are making too big a fuss over this, it’s because we had something really special at that dog park–not just a (or possibly THE) place where our pets could get a good run. It’s also because that park was unique in the metro area–something we could be proud of and show off–and it is no longer unique. It’s just a weird divided dog park now.

    1. The Junior League did not have the decency to clear off the sidewalk last Saturday. The Wedding participants had to tip-toe through 3″ of water and a lot of wet leaves and mud. This is why there is a drainage problem the Junior League takes no responsibility to mediate the situation only complain about the dog park.

    2. Isn’t the Jr. League occupying public property? What do they do with their profits? Who ownes the Mary Gay House? Does the City own the house? How do they benefit residents of the Adair Park neighborhood?

      1. What I have heard is the city of Decatur owns the Mary Gay House. The Junior League rents it for $1/year. Good question about profits? Who does “profit” from the profits. Certainly not the dog park!

  18. As a dog owner, I have to report our city slicker dog will miss access to the culvert, as her concrete loving paws headed for it every time we took her there. Since we have plenty of access to concrete on the sidewalks, we don’t take her overto the dog park often. Accordingly, my view on this “solution” comes from a non doggie point of view. There is precious little open space in this town, and now a piece of somewhat open land has been hideously visually divided. There is serious brain power in Decatur- I really wish the city would reach out and figure out a better fix.

  19. They still don’t have the water turned on at east lake dog park. Just another example…the sign says it’ll be off for January. It’s mid march and the dogs are so thirsty I can only bring so much.

  20. Let me pile on the disappointment in the band-aid solution. Bisecting the park was the path of MOST RESISTANCE. We are going to end up with those fences having just as much debri and garbage as what had gathered simply at the base. Who will clean that? Will this be left to Decatur residents also? Duh, where is the mulch going to go now??? This was the cheapest solution which does not seem to align with the tax structure in the City of Decatur. This is a safety issue – dog problem on one side, humans on the other? Surely a civil engineer or a talented landscape designer can come up with a more elegant solution?

  21. There was a meeting Feb 1, 2012 to which dog park users were invited. Unfortunately very few people attended (8). The main discussion centered around the drainage/erosion issues. The original plan was to ‘cut’ the park in half. Only the section with the picnic tables would be available. At the same meeting it was promised to have more plastic bag dispensers, benches, picnic tables, and the cross over at the top of the park would be made ‘nicer’/ safer(?). The plan for purchase of agility equipment for the dogs was ‘nixed’ in favor for the additional picnic tables and benches.

  22. Reports from attendees at that meeting indicated that it was a done deal. I’m disappointed I could not attend. I contacted Asst City Mgr Junger and was dismissed – passed on to someone else. It will be interesting to see the results of today’s storm tomorrow on the our new “filtering” system. The problem is mulch eroding, not run-off. Surely there are other solutions to stabilizing the hillsides that are sustainable. Where are our experts?

    1. It was done deal to ‘cut’ the park in half- only one fence would have been erected. The attendees requested that the hillside be included!

    2. The cement ‘ditch’/’trough’ was competely clear. The rest of the park was a mess. Both sides of the park were ‘washed’ away. Mulch has already washed under the new fence and accumulated against the new fence. The ‘new’ mulch pathway to/from the dog park was also washed away.
      So the score: Public Works=0; Public Opinion=1
      So Where are the Experts?

  23. If water flow is causing mulch to wash away, then a system of contours must be done to slow the water. One of the neatest control systems I have seen are the new mulch “socks”. They were featured on Garden Smart, a gardening show. If these socks are correctly placed and planted, they stop erosion, control water, and become part of the landscaping.
    Check out these websites http://www.gardensoxx.com/ and http://www.filtrexx.com

    1. Thank you for the links. Have you forwarded these to the Public Worksor Dept and Parks and Rec?
      There are other issues than those mentioned. NOt are there people who can walk that far there are people who are confined to wheelchairs who would/could not safely access the aprk nor get to their dogs without assistance of others. There is also the issue of safety for all. There are not enough exits should there be an emergency. What if someone had a fall or MI how could the EMS access the park quickly?

      1. Actually, I don’t live in the city. My dog can’t even use the park. But a city resident could bring this to the city’s attention.
        I saw these mulch socks used on a steep riverbank to stop erosion. The before and after was striking, especially after the plants grew into the mulch socks and helped conceal them.

        1. I did forward the links to Decatur city Parks and Rec and Public Works. So thanks again for information.

  24. I would like to see an opening in the middle of the park- constructed so that dogs can’t get out- . It is a problem that owners don’t have easy access to the other side. If your dog poops on the one side and owner is on other side- this requires owner to keep an eye on poop and walk to top of park and find the poop. Usually by that time- can’t find it. We want to keep park clean- Also there are owners who can’t walk that far- and it is very difficult to walk on jagged bricks etc.

  25. Heeelllllloooooooooo again, Decatur! I bet you didn’t know that I’m a huge dog lover too. Well, I am. In fact, the only thing in the world I love more than dogs are dog owners with incredible amounts of free time and disposable income! Now, I’m guessing there are more than a few of you fine folks who fall into that category, so I invite you to come visit me at my very own Las Vegas casino:


    I know what you are thinking. “We can’t possibly fly to Sin City for the weekend. Poor Fluffy would miss us so much and she would miss her Saturday dog park play date.” Fear not, you can bring her with you, and Fido too! We’ll set them up in our very own K-9 Casino Spa! C? Can I really do that? Of course I can, I’m Jimmy Buffett!

    OK, OK, I know that some of you may not be gamblers. But you still love your dogs, right? And this dog park tragedy has still got you down. So it’s time for you to rise up! Demand that City of Decatur remedy this Poochy Paradise Lost immediately! Tear down that fence? Not gonna happen. But don’t give up. We’ll all forget our sorrows when the city installs a Margaritaville DM1000 Frozen Concoction Maker right next to the doggie water fountain!


    C’mon, Decatur Parks and Recreation, show us the tequila!!!!!!!

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