Possible City Of Decatur Purchase May Save Oakhurst Dog Park

Cyclone and Sputnik, hanging out on a weekday morning at the Oakhurst Dog Park in Decatur.
Cyclone and Sputnik, hanging out on a weekday morning at the Oakhurst Dog Park in Decatur.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

For the last few months, residents in Decatur have been working to save a dog park.

A developer drew up plans to build two homes on a half-acre property owned by the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta. It would reduce the size of the dog park in Oakhurst.

But now the city of Decatur says it’s also looking at buying the land.

Charles Willi visits the Oakhurst Dog Park with his two dogs – June and May – every day. He’s even on the steering committee. He says he understands why people want to move to Oakhurst.

“It’s a pretty hot real estate market right now,” he says. “On the other hand, to build two homes right there – you’d have to give up the forest and a lot of people would lose a community asset.”

And like other dog-owners, the forest near the dog park is a big draw for him. Parts of it would disappear if they build the two detached single-family houses.

So he was glad to hear that the city of Decatur is speaking to the Boys & Girls Club about possibly buying their building, the dog park and the surrounding land.

“So we would have a future that we could count on rather than the current situation, which is a year-to-year lease from the Boys & Girls Club to the city of Decatur,” Willi says. 

The Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta has said it doesn’t make sense for it to hold onto land it’s not using. It could use the money to train staff and upgrade computers.

The organization emailed a statement saying it still plans to honor its contract with developer Weaver Capital to sell the land, but confirmed it’s in talks with the city of Decatur: 

“We are open to exploring these conversations [with the city of Decatur], while also honoring the current purchase agreement we have with Weaver Capital. Weaver Capitol is following the process to get approval for the subdivision of this land, but as of the last planning commission meeting, it is still not clear how this will manifest.”