A public park in unincorporated DeKalb County will be closed until further notice due to “potentially dangerous contraptions and traps” discovered by law enforcement that could be harmful or deadly to people and pets, according to DeKalb County officials.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond made the announcement at a press conference held March 24 during which he warned “all DeKalb County residents and others who come to our county to avoid the Intrenchment Creek area.”
Thurmond’s executive order closes and restricts access to Intrenchment Creek Park and other county-owned properties in the area to the public, residents and visitors. “If we encounter individuals unaware of the closure, we will inform them and ask them to leave immediately,” said Thurmond. “This executive order will apply to unauthorized persons entering the property. They will be subject to prosecution for criminal trespass and any other violation of the law to fullest extent of Georgia and DeKalb County.”
Any owner of unauthorized vehicles will be subject to prosecution and the vehicle will be towed and impounded, continued Thurmond.
Per the executive order, the following properties in the vicinity of Intrenchment Creek, totaling approximately 140 acres, will remain closed until further notice:
- 2055 Bouldercrest Road
- 2058 Bouldercrest Road
- 2098 Bouldercrest Road
- 2109 Bouldercrest Road (Intrenchment Creek Park)
- 2142 Bouldercrest Road
- 2156 Bouldercrest Road
During the press conference, Thurmond said DeKalb County Parks and Recreation officials have been attacked on multiple occasions over about a 12-month period and have not been able to properly maintain the park.
“DeKalb County personnel attempting to perform necessary functions on the properties including customary and ongoing safety inspections, upkeep, repair, trash removal, maintenance, renovation and construction have been attacked on multiple occasions in recent months by individuals throwing rocks and other objects and creating other dangerous conditions, such that county personnel have been unable to complete these necessary functions,” states the executive order.
The executive order further states that this “this temporary closure until further notice is necessary to protect the safety of the families, residents and visitors and their pets in the area and the county personnel who need access to the properties for the purposes of upkeep, inspection, repair, trash removal, maintenance, renovation and construction.”
The entrances and exits to the properties listed in the executive order will be closed and the county will post official signs prohibiting public access to, and parking, on the properties, stated officials.
Despite being asked multiple times, Thurmond did not answer questions regarding who will be responsible for enforcing the executive order.
When asked if the executive order could withstand legal challenge, Thurmond responded “we have a great county attorney and I don’t believe this executive order will be challenged but right now, I’m just being hopeful.”
The surrounding South River Forest area of Intrenchment Creek Park has been in the national news spotlight as protesters against the planned Public Safety Training Center and law enforcement have clashed for months. In January, protester Manuel Terán was shot and killed and a Georgia State Patrol officer, who has yet to be named to the public, was shot and wounded during a multi-jurisdictional operation to clear the area.
During the press conference, Defend the Atlanta Forest, a group against the Public Safety Training Center, tweeted that multiple people were denied access, including reporters with Democracy Now and Atlanta Community Press Collective.
For more information, visit www.dekalbcountyga.gov
This is a developing story.