By Joe Earle
joeearle@reporternewspapers.net

Members of the Historic Brookhaven Neighborhood Association have developed a plan for revitalizing Brookhaven Park that includes a large dog park.

The plan, presented to members of the Brookhaven Community Connection on June 8, includes a proposal for new pedestrian entrances to the park from Peachtree Road and Mabrey Drive, an expanded playground and parking lot, a skate park and a 2.5-acre fenced area where dogs could be allowed to run without leashes.

“We are lucky in the Brookhaven area to have this 20-acre piece of property,” said Karen Spitz, a member of the association board who presented the drawings at the BCC meeting. “It’s a fabulous, fabulous place.”

Spitz said members of the association are circulating the drawing in the community for reaction and plan to present it to members of the DeKalb County Commission. Promoters of the proposal estimate it could cost about $900,000 to build, she said.

The park has been host to controversy recently after DeKalb County police began ticketing dog owners for violation of the county’s leash laws when dogs were allowed to run in the park without leashes. Dog owners have argued that a portion of the park should be used as a leash-free “dog park.”

“Let’s let our dogs run free, but within a fenced park,” Spitz said.

After the presentation June 8, Ronnie Mayer, president of the Ashford Park Civic Association, questioned whether the county will be able to pay for the improvements in the plan. “DeKalb County has zero money. Zero,” he said.

But the county library system has more than $3 million reserved for a new library building, he said. Although library officials say they hope to put the library in a proposed future development at the MARTA rail station, Mayer argues the new library should be built at Brookhaven Park. MARTA officials say the development at the rail station is on hold.