Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis recently wrote an email response to a supporter of the dog park at Brook Run. The dog park fan asked the mayor how he responds to conflicting reports by certified arborists about the condition of the trees in the off-leash dog park.
In his email, Mayor Davis stated, “One thing I've learned as mayor is to not trust the experts.”
By making such a bold statement in regard to expert testimony, the mayor has made his decision a personal one and not one based on what is really good for the community. By stating that he doesn’t trust any of the expert testimony, he negates even the testimony of his own experts.
In the legal arena experts are hired to challenge the opposing side's position so that a balanced and fair decision can be made. The city hired a tree expert to support the position of the City Council. Two supporters of the dog park simply hired experts to challenge Dunwoody's experts. The purpose was to provide expert opinion for both sides so that it would not be a one-sided debate.
Shouldn't the city be given the opportunity to see both sides of the argument before making a decision that affects the city's budget, the taxpayers’ dollars, and the dogs and their owners whose interests are involved? Both sides are presenting an argument for their side so that the citizens can be informed.
The mayor’s decision was based on his own admittedly non-expert observations, including soil compaction, erosion and tree damage. Soil compaction occurs when ground is tread upon. Is this why the city installed cement trails, so that the people walking them won't compact the soil?
As to the tree damage, the only beings who are destroying trees are those hired by the city to chop down trees in order to make a concrete sidewalk. And more trees will be destroyed in order to create the new dog park. You must chop down trees so that the dogs won't destroy them? Really? How does this make sense?
The dog park association is the most proactive group of people I have ever known. They do not rely on city funding for the upkeep of the park. They pay for and do the work of the park's upkeep themselves. There are people out there tirelessly working on a voluntary basis picking up waste, spreading ground cover (purchased with donations by dog park patrons), clearing walking paths throughout the park, making sure that the water stations are clean and in working order.
Donations have paid for all the seating in the park (hand-made by devoted volunteers). The dog park regulars have proven time and time again that they are self-sufficient and responsible. Even now, part of their argument against relocation is the desire to save taxpayers’ money!
Volunteers in the dog park recognize that the city has to spend the budget money now in order to get more money in the future. That fact about government spending is not lost on this group. All that the dog park regulars are asking is that the City of Dunwoody consider their opposition with logic. If the money has been allocated for parks and recreation spending then use it for parks and recreation. The dog park regulars are not refusing city money; they simply believe that the money can be better allocated.
Keep the dog park where it is, away from a high-trafficked area of Brook Run where there are more automobiles and foot traffic to distract and alarm the dogs, cause escape, or worse. Keep the dog park where it is, where trees provide shelter as well as pleasure. Keep the dog park where it is, where no trees have died due to the ground being compacted or destroyed by digging or erosion. Keep the dog park where it is. It just makes sense.
But then I’m not an expert… so that means you can trust me, right?Nancy Woodruff
Sandy Springs, GA
(Neither an expert or a Dunwoody resident)
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