Ask Rip

Rip RobertsonRip Robertson is the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Tucker.

Over the course of the last two years, we have worked hard to improve our pools and give our community a safe, fun place to “chill” during those dog days of summer. Last year, we were determined to operate our pools safely, but give our citizens a place to come and relax after enduring lockdowns and few personal interactions with friends and family. By accomplishing this, we were able to showcase our new and improved facilities. We showcased and improved them so well, in fact, that we saw our annual pass participation increase by over 800 percent these last two seasons.

The “introduction” of our facilities to so many have allowed us to provide even more fun this year. We made some exciting changes at both of our pools with new features. We installed a slide and aquatic zipline, as well as made upgrades to the chemical balancing system, fencing, deck, pool house, and a new pavilion during this time.

We opened this season with many of the same protocols and the reservation system utilized last summer, but we were eventually able to fully open, easing some of the reservation restrictions and increasing our capacity to allow more access. We hope to bring even more features and fun to our pools in the coming seasons. Thank you Tucker for your trust in our department to come out and celebrate summer.

Bridge replacement at Probst Park.With that said, we have received a couple of questions on some park issues recently that I wanted to touch on. First, there was a big discussion on Facebook stemming from the question “What is happening at the Henderson Park/Lake Erin dam?” DeKalb County commissioned a study last year after the dam at Lake Erin became blocked. The lake had risen to unsafe levels, and we worked with the County to unblock the dam and lower the levels. During this time, AECOM completed their study on the condition and recommendations for the dam. Dams are designed to contain water on a stream/river for specific reasons. They prevent flooding, provide energy or, in our instance, provide a lake for recreational activities such as fishing. Trees, brush and other growth compromise dams due to their root growth. Our dam was overdue for clearing and that is what everyone is seeing taking place now. The root systems loosen and compromise the compaction of a dam and allow water to seep through and could potentially cause dam failure. So this is just normal maintenance of our dam. You may begin to see more work to ensure the dam stabilization. By the way, the dam and lake are part of the County’s stormwater system and that is why you see the County performing this work, as well as any needed maintenance. The City does partner with the County on certain projects but the stormwater system is solely the County’s.

The second question that caused a stir on social media regarded the failing bridge at Probst Park (formerly Smoke Rise Park). “What is the plan to repair this bridge?” folks asked. As most park users have seen, we have been replacing/repairing bridges and boardwalks in many of our parks. Probst Park has had two bridges repaired and is currently having a boardwalk constructed to provide safer access from the newly constructed parking lot. During a recent visit we noticed the deterioration of a fourth bridge on the northern section of the trail. This bridge has been closed and is being replaced as quickly as possible. We have signed a contract with one of our bridge builders and hope to start that work very shortly.

I’ll remind you, the best way to get your questions answered promptly and accurately is to reach out to us directly. Send any questions you have to and we’ll be sure to get right back to you.

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