November 18, 2013

Rutledge Park – Modified Playground Scheme

Hello Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you all for your valuable participation and input concerning the installation of the playground at Rutledge Park. As a result of input from the community and subsequent review and input from the Friends of Rutledge Park Playground Committee and Executive Committee, below is the modified playground scheme. This is the most efficient and economical design solution given our community input, design parameters, space available, and budget. Paige Singer, Project Manager of Dekalb County Parks and Recreation, will be going forward with design activities predicated on this playground scheme.


Tim Ralston
Chairman/Project Manager
Friends of Rutledge Park
(678) 576-0926

Rutledge Park Playground Rutledge Park Playground

November 16, 2013

Tulip Returns to Rutledge Park – Saturday, November 16

The Rutledge Park Community Awareness Group is always looking for news ways to spread the word about Rutledge Park.

This autumn, “Tulip – The Tree Spirit of Rutledge Park” was designed and submitted to be a part of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens “Scarecrows in the Park” exhibit. There, she was on display for the month of October and was awarded Honorable Mention for the “Staff’s Choice Award.”

Now, Tulip has come home to Rutledge Park on Saturday, November 16. She will be displayed at the park’s entryway for everyone to admire.

A special thank you to Emily Franze, Kitty MacFarlane, and Suzanne Ledoux for the creative contributions to this fun project, which helped bring Tulip to life.

Tulip the Tree Spirit of Rutledge Park

Tulip the Tree Spirit of Rutledge Park


October 19, 2013

Rutledge Park Has Gone to the Birds! – Promoting Community Awareness

Rutledge Park Birdhouse Village
Emily Franze has never been one for waiting around. Always on a mission to promote community awareness of Rutledge Park, this summer she took her enthusiasm and go get’em attitude to the streets. Her idea, which she refers to as “bird brained”, turned out to be downright genius! Emily delivered hand-built birdhouses to local businesses and asked them to be painted into miniature storefronts. The response was overwhelming! The result is a precious birdhouse village representing 23 local businesses and is currently on display in Rutledge Park. Soon, the birdhouse village will become a traveling art installation and will be displayed at different locations around Emory Village – First stop is Yogli Mogli.

Visit the Rutledge Park website for more photos of the birdhouse village:

In keeping with the bird theme, The Friends of Rutledge Park will be hosting a “Backyard Birding Adventure” on Saturday, November 2 at 4pm. Jamie Hawk, former executive director of the Atlanta Audubon Society and neighborhood bird expert/enthusiast, will spend the afternoon with neighbors discovering the wide variety of bird species living in our own backyards. Bring your binoculars! Afterwards, families can decorate their own miniature birdhouses to take home. All materials and paints will be provided.

Emily Franze and The Friends of Rutledge Park would like to extend a special thank you to all the individuals and businesses that have participated in the birdhouse village project:

All Fired Up
Alliance to Improve Emory Village
Bad Dog Taqueria
Doc Chey’s
The Emory Art History Department
Fernbank Elementary School
The Glenn School
Ink & Elm
King of Pops
Purple Corkscrew
Railroad Earth
Romeo’s New York Pizza
Sherwin Williams Paint (Sage Hill)
Shield’s Meat Market
Slice & Pint
Trader Joe’s (Midtown)
Winship Cancer Institute
Yogli Mogli Frozen Yogurt
You’re a Hanger
Zoës Kitchen

And a big thank you to Dan MacFarlane, Mark Goldman, Alan Miller, and Steve Kamin for helping with the assembly of the birdhouses.

Look for more birdhouses coming soon from Druid Hills residents Shane McIntosh of Ocean Catering Company and Jason Hill of Wisteria and Folk Art restaurants located in Inman Park, as well as Boy Scout Troop 18 and artist Bob Ichter based in Little 5 Points.

Rutledge Park Birdhouse Village
Rutledge Park Birdhouse Village
Rutledge Park Birdhouse Village

Click the link below to see more photos.

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October 10, 2013

Rutledge Park Update: Notes on the Community Meeting of October 6th

1)     The intent of this meeting was to provide information to the community and to provide  for community input.  Community input regarding the size of the playground Sunday was clear – most in the community want a bigger playground.

2)     The plan that was presented to the community Sunday, for various reasons, included a smaller playground than was anticipated, and featured more buffer space on both the north and east sides of the playground than is desirable for the most efficient use of the designated space in that area.  The rest of the plan was effective and well received.

3)     It is important to note that the county and their private sector architect are trying hard to work with our very limited budget, and that they have been working in good faith to provide the best design solutions for our scope and needs as defined by the visioning plan within the total budget parameters that are available for design and construction.

4)     We have consumed the hours allocated in the architect’s fees for design and engineering. There are other activities remaining, but we cannot redesign park and playground without blowing up both the schedule and budget, and completely jeopardizing the whole project.

5)     Playgrounds are surprisingly complicated to design, however, Paige and the design team have come up with a solution to the “too small” playground problem.  This solution will require the removal of two trees, a water oak and a suspected Princess tree (Paulownia Tomentosa  –  which if true is an invasive species) on the upper terrace (just south of where the playground is now shown). Once these trees are removed, the playground can expand into that area and will accommodate the installation of three pieces of equipment:

i)   Swing Set

ii)   Slide

iii)  Climbing feature

6)     The playground will be enlarged to accommodate more play equipment.  We don’t know the ultimate size and shape yet, but obviously it will be more expensive.  However, this playground expansion strategy will not require more design fees or re-engineering (hydrology, surveys, grading, etc.), and will not force significant schedule delays.  This is the best solution to the neighborhood demand for a larger playground, along with managing the existing budget and project schedule.  We will have to address the issue of higher costs, but I am confident the community will respond appropriately given the enthusiasm of the responses to expand the playground at the meeting.  Commissioner Jeff Rader has expressed his support of this recommended solution.

7)     The location of the playground at the north end of the park is the most efficient, aesthetic and cost effective location.  It isn’t a mere convenience for county maintenance.  The playground surface will be wood chips, and while they are the best solution for this park they require regular maintenance and replacement.  That will mean lots of wood chips will have to be installed and removed annually.  To have the playground at the end adjacent to the service drive means that a big truck does not have to drive over sidewalks (which will break and crack), outdoor furniture, gardens, borders, plantings, tree roots, etc.

8)     At the meeting the rest of the park design was well received, including the landscape design/planting plan.  The county has also provided a big benefit for the park by arranging to provide tree bank material that saves the project significant costs, and that will make the aesthetics and vegetative screening very effective and non-controversial.

9)     A design note – the visioning plan was a concept plan (a very good one) but not a construction document.  As Walt Ray of Park Pride noted, this design has been kept very close to the intent of the visioning plan, but there are construction realities that have to be accounted for once you get past the concepts.

We can and will make this plan work to meet the community’s desires.  We can expand the playground area and add equipment.  There is an unfortunate loss of two trees, something we have worked hard to avoid, but we will be adding many more.  It will cost more, but we will work to balance that out in design, and work with the community and county to make that manageable.

Please let me know what you and your neighbors think of the proposed expansion of the playground.  The process is still working.  Your input has been heard and acted upon.  We will let the county know what you think.

Tim Ralston

Friends of Rutledge Park

Chairman/Project Manager

September 18, 2013

Rutledge Park Design Community Presentation – 10/6/13






Emory Presbyterian Church


1886 North Decatur Road, at the corner of N Decatur Rd and Westminster Way, just east of Haygood

The meeting will be held in the Church Education Bldg, just behind the Sanctuary


DeKalb County’s new design is based upon the Community Visioning Process conducted last year by Park Pride.

Please come and see the results of this collaborative planning.  This is the design that will be used to build your Rutledge community park.  Your participation is invited and we want your input regarding this plan.  It is the result of years of work and planning, and it is the last step before construction of the park.


The concept, impact and design will be presented by:

Jeff Rader – DeKalb County Commissioner

Paige Singer – DeKalb County Project Manager

Walt Ray – Park Pride Visioning Coordinator

Members of the Friends Of Rutledge Park Executive Committee


All will be available for input, questions and answers



Tim Ralston
Chairman/Project Manager
Friends of Rutledge Park Executive Committee

June 28, 2013

Paul Daily’s Eagle Scout Project

Paul Daily staircase


Dear Friends and Supporters of Rutledge Park,

Paul Daily, Eagle Scout of Troop 18, has recently completed his Eagle Scout project which consisted of building a staircase from the upper to lower terrace at the north end of Rutledge Park.  This project was originally conceived as a “restoration” of the existing stair at that location, a key presumption of which was that there was material in place which would be available once the existing stair was excavated and the material uncovered.  Paul (and members and parents of Troup 18) excavated the stair and did their best to use the existing material to rebuild the stair, but it was apparent that there was not enough material (nor sufficiently stable material) available to successfully place a safe and complete staircase.  So, after consultation and re-engineering, Paul and his support group removed much of what had been placed and built a beautiful and very stable new staircase.

I note that this project ended up being far more labor and material intensive than any of us originally contemplated.  I will also note that Paul was extremely dedicated to properly completing the project and displayed exemplary patience and discipline in realizing that the first version, which involved considerable effort and some purchased material, was not going to be acceptable.  No whining or complaining, he came up with a new plan, tore out the existing work and placed the new staircase (very capably).  As a result, Rutledge Park has its first real infrastructure improvement – which will be a terrific benefit to all who use the park. Had this work been part of the park hardscape scope (and which would have been needed) the cost would have been considerable.  As it was, Paul had to spend over $500 in materials alone.  One of the components of the Eagle Scout project is a fundraising component, and Paul is now attempting to fund raise to cover the costs of the work.  I invite all Executive Committee members, as well as all community members interested in the park, to join me in contributing to Paul’s fund. You can contact him directly should you choose to, plus Paul plans on doing some door to door solicitation to follow up.

Paul’s email address is:

I extend a hearty congratulations to Paul and his team for a job very well done, and commend him on a terrific can-do attitude.  In addition, I am very pleased with the improvement that he has provided for Rutledge Park.  I am grateful  for it, and proud of Paul’s work.


Tim Ralston

Chairman/Project Manager

Friends of Rutledge Park

May 17, 2013

Turtle Egg Hunt – April 27, 2013

A BIG thank you to everyone who participated in Rutledge Park’s First Annual Turtle Egg Hunt! It was a lot of fun, and some great information was shared about our indigenous reptile resident, the Eastern Box Turtle. For anyone who was not able to attend and did not receive the Eastern Box Turtle informational handout, a downloadable version is available below. Just click the link!

Rutledge Park Eastern Box Turtle Presentation »



April 22, 2013

FREE Family Fun – “Turtle Egg” Hunt & Prizes

Rutledge Park Turtle Egg Hunt

Join the Friends of Rutledge Park for the first annual TURTLE EGG HUNT, on Saturday April 27 from 3pm to 4pm. This is a free, fun family event where kids of all ages can hunt for hundreds of hidden “turtle eggs” filled with prizes and (nut free) candy.

Kids will hunt in age groups – Ages: 0-3, 4-6, 7 and up.

There will also be an educational talk on our indigenous reptile resident, the Eastern Box Turtle.

Come meet your neighbors and join in the fun! Refreshments and good company will be provided.