Mason Mill Park master planning and redesign continues in DeKalb County

Most of us who live in the Medlock Park, University Heights, Laurel Ridge, and the surrounding neighborhoods in Decatur realize just how lucky we are with the series of parks, nature preserves, trails, creeks, and community centers we have in the area. And Mason Mill Park is one of our jewels. The past several months, DeKalb County has hosted three public community meetings regarding the redesign of the tennis center, garden area, dog park, water works, and nature trails (the park is located on McConnell Drive off of Clairmont Road near Emory University where they’re rebuilding Avis G. Williams Library).

So far, the meetings have been productive and the planners that DeKalb County have appointed seem receptive to ideas and suggestions from the neighbors. The plans they have come up with show a respect for existing structures and preserving the woods included in the park (which is something that concerns me greatly). The planners are leaning towards a newly structured park with an improved tennis center, less parking lot and larger greenspace (and with additional “reinforced turf” that could be used for additional parking), a driveway loop that would allow for access to the lower floor of the senior center (if the building isn’t renovated to allow interior access within the building), defining the trails through the woods with crushed natural stone or boardwalk, and clearing the woods in Melton Park for a play area. I’m not a particular fan of running a driveway through the middle of a park, or messing with the trails and clearing the woods so I’m hoping they will leave those areas alone (please let me know if you hear anything). And the dog park would be relocated to the end of McConnell Drive to be closer to the woods and out of the flood plain that would become a retention pond.

The final community meeting was Thursday, January 22nd and here are a few notes from the meeting posted on our Laurel Ridge yahoo group:

Nature Districts (Burnt Fork and South Peachtree Creek):
> Lots of nature trails, using either crushed stone or boardwalk
> Connection from South Peachtree Creek Trail at stone bridge to McConnell Road via bridge over CSX railroad.
> Dog Park would be moved from current location to end of McConnell across from Water Works.

Water Works
> Recommended mitigation of stormwater runoff through installation of “energy dissipators” (rocks) below CSX railroad culverts and construction of a “bio-swale” before water reaches the creeks.
> Interpretive signage and trails.
> Found remnants of old asphalt road extending from current Water Works ruins up the north side of Burnt Fork Creek.

Day Use District:
> Lots of stormwater mitigation proposed from the impervious surfaces which includes the Mack Love Center and the Tennis Courts and associated parking lots.
> Significant reduction in parking and asphalt in return for expanded greenspace but the proposed new access road cuts the greenspace in two.
> Recommended use of pervious pavers and “reinforced turf” to cut down on stormwater runoff.
> Replacement of dog park with drainage detention pond.

Melton Park :
> Formalize loop trail
> Clear a “play area” in the middle
> Bridge to Water Works.

For more info on the master plans and to leave your comments and suggestions, please visit the website here: http://www.co.dekalb.ga.us/parks/mason_mill.htm

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