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This private park is on Fourth Avenue Northwest.
Daily photo by John Godbey
This private park is on Fourth Avenue Northwest.

Owner still seeks to sell park to Decatur

By Deangelo McDaniel · 340-2469

A private park that once served Decatur residents is cleaner than it was in June. But it remains a nuisance and its owner wants to sell to the city.

“I’ve been waiting,” the Rev. A.C. Strong said when asked if City Hall had contacted him about purchasing the property.

The park is on Fourth Avenue Northwest near Finley Drive and fronts Dry Branch Creek.

Strong used private money to construct a walking pier to the creek, fishing stations, a concrete pad to launch boats and canoes and barbecue pits.

The pastor said he allowed residents to use the park free. But he is no longer able to maintain the park because of ill health.

In ruins

The park is in ruins. In the summer, The Daily received several complaints, some calling the park a snake pit.

Mayor Don Kyle visited the park and said he was willing to discuss buying it with the council.

The park is in City Council President Billy Jackson’s District 1, but he said there has been no discussion about buying the property.

“If the city had an opportunity to purchase the property at a reasonable price, I would be in favor of it,” Jackson said.

Jackson realizes the park would be an asset for Decatur. The problem, he said, may be that what the landowner considers reasonable differs from what is reasonable.

According to the Morgan County revenue commissioner’s office, the majority of the property is in a flood zone and is valued at $7,300.

Strong did not give a price, but said he’s willing to sell the land to the city “at a good price that is reasonable.”

“I’m not going to give it to them, because I have a lot invested on the land,” he said.

The backside of the park is west of the Morgan County Jail and old Decatur. If some of the underbrush were cleared on both sides of Dry Branch Creek, it would be one of the prettiest parks in Decatur, a resident in the area said.

As for now, Strong said, he will continue to eliminate the blight and hope that the city buys and returns the park to its original look.

The park is on shady, sloping property and has a brick entrance and exit. The concrete
pads and barbecue pits are still usable.

“There’s a lot of potential here,” Strong said. “This could be a nice place for the community. I’m too sick, and I can’t take care of it anymore.”

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