Input is sought on design and fundraising for proposal
Canine lovers fired suggestions and took notes Thursday night as Crescent City's planning staff unveiled the first concept designs of a planned dog park.
Community Development Director Eric Taylor and Planning Technician Brooke Trudeau presented drawings for a 1-acre dog park with separate sections for large and small dogs separated by a 4-foot high fence, a concrete path and a shade structure in the current design.
Construction costs are estimated at $316,760, but that amount could change depending on the input the city receives, Taylor said.
Workshop participants were asked for their ideas on obtaining funding for the park.
Taylor and Trudeau also offered their own suggestions on the park's design, such as
removing the concrete path that separates the park's two sections and instead using a simple fence.
"This is your park," he said. "We want to know what you guys want to see."
Trudeau said all dogs at the park will have to be able to respond to voice commands, and Taylor said it will be up to owners to police their pets.
Dog-owners discussed how to design the park for safety. This included weighing the pros and cons of having a section where dogs have to be on a leash and another section where they can be off-leash, and how to deal with pooches who don't know how to behave around other dogs and people.
Many participants pointed out that a 4-foot fence wouldn't be enough to keep some dogs contained within the park. Mike Haver, whose apartment overlooks Beachfront Park, objected to the park's rectangular shape, saying the corners could contribute to dog fights.
Haver said he has experience with the U.S. Humane Society and other animal rescue groups and has bred Doberman pinschers, boxers and terriers. He said he researched other dog parks all over California "down to the grass," and suggested upcoming meetings focus on specific aspects of the park's development such as its design and funding.
"The gazebo in the middle is cute, but it's useless," Haver said. "And instead of open area, put in some trees."
Susan Lytwyne, president of the Oregon Coast Kennel Club, said a dog park in Crescent City could become a venue for dog agility demonstrations and obedience classes. She said she'd be happy to bring in agility equipment for an afternoon to help raise money for the park. An obstacle course could be put up and owners charged a fee to run their dogs through.
"This sounds good," Lytwyne said of the proposed park. "It'll grow as people bring in input."
Taylor said the park could provide a venue for the Crescent City Police Department to hold local K-9 "Olympics" events.
Not every dog owner was excited about the park. Jan Darling, who runs a rescue operation for golden retrievers and currently has two dogs, said her biggest concern is irresponsible owners who will not closely watch or pick up after their pets.
Diseases like parvovirus, kennel cough and giardia are prevalent in the area and can be dangerous to dogs, Darling said, adding many dogs don't behave well around other dogs, children or people. She cited a nearby grassy area maintained by St. Joseph Catholic Church and used by locals as something of a dog park as an example.
"It takes the maintenance guy two hours to clean up the poop before he mows," she said. "If they can't take care of someone else's property as a guest, what will they do with the dog park?"
Trudeau asked workshop participants to submit suggestions to the city by Dec. 18. She will then compile a list of the more popular suggestions and bring them back at a future meeting where the public can discuss them. A third meeting will be devoted to raising the funds to build the park, Trudeau said.
Once the dog park's design is finalized, the city will have to seek a development permit from the California Coastal Commission, Taylor said. He said he hopes the permitting and fundraising processes can occur simultaneously.
People wishing to make suggestions can e-mail Trudeau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Jessica Cejnar at email@example.com.