I’ve been checking the weather forecast all week. With a race coming up I needed to get in one more outdoor run and the forecast was for temperatures in the mid 60’s by Saturday, needless to say I was giddy with the prospect. So Saturday afternoon, with the temperature at 65 degrees I set out for Alexander Park in Lawrenceville.
Upon arrival the first thing I noticed was a lack of trees indicating that this park was fairly new. After further research I found that the park was actually opened in 2009. The next glaring reality was that the park was packed and the parking, limited. The main park entrance on Old Snellville Highway has a narrow paved lot followed by an unpaved lot and nearly all spaces were taken.
The front of the park has seating for performances and an open grassy area for kite flying, frisbee throwing and whatever else you can do in an open grassy area. Next to it is a small children’s play area with swings, a slide, a big boulder for climbing and an interesting set up that teaches children how to read braille. The play area was packed with children and their parents and could definitely be extended or an additional play area added somewhere else in the park for the children to enjoy.
The paved trail according to the website is 1.4 miles and you have to assume that this is the paved trail that is lined for two “lanes”. I say assume because there are no mileage markers anywhere on the trail. The outer loop of the trail, even without trees is a good one. Starting out from the entrance and going right on the outer loop, it’s not particularly challenging, however the last stretch once you come back around to the entrance side is one long steady incline that burns the lungs and thighs. I saw one woman stop and think about whether she would continue or turnaround, she continued and so did I. That incline alone makes running here worth it.
As much as I enjoyed the run, and seeing the children, the pond (where people actually fish) and the challenging incline, there were a few drawbacks as mentioned above. The parking situation leaves much to be desired and the children need a larger play area. Yet the biggest draw back was the DOG POOP. Every Gwinnett Park that I’ve been in has the “It’s your doodie” signs posted. For some reason, some folks IGNORE those signs and let their dogs poop on the paved trail and alongside it. The problem is especially troublesome on the back side. I mean the smell of dog poop mixed with wood chips is a bad combination. I’ll be contacting the Gwinnett Parks and Rec about this one.
Overall I give a thumbs up with some caveats for Alexander Park. For running, walking and biking early mornings will likely be the best bet to miss the crowds and miss the heat during the summer. Off hours would also prove better for parking. If you’ve been to Alexander Park, I’d love to hear what you thought.
See you at the park!