Monterey Park’s four legged residents may soon have their very own park in the city after residents help city officials decide whether they should move forward with a proposed dog park.
The city’s park and recreation commission will hold a public hearing on Oct. 14 to get input on the proposal.
The dog park would be located at Garvey Ranch Park in an unused lot next to the tennis courts along Orange Avenue. The park would be fenced up and divided into two areas for small dogs and larger dogs to allow for pets to be off their leashes. The proposal also states that the park would only be open during daylight hours.
Although some residents may be hearing about the proposal for the first time during Monday’s Recreation and Parks Commission hearing, the idea has been in the works for a couple of years, said Dan Costley, Monterey Park’s director of recreation and community services. Costley said the Recreation and Parks commission surveyed residents about what changes they would like to see at city parks and determined that a dog park was something most residents wanted and the city needed.
“There is a large dog population” in the city, Monterey Park Police Lt. Steve Coday told EGP. He said 295 dogs were licensed last year, but the number of dogs in the city is estimated to be higher when you take into account the number of dogs not registered.
“The city council has already approved a budget to build a dog park,” Costley said. “Now we’re just trying to get an okay from the people.”
Funding for the $80,000 project was secured as part of the city council approved the $3.2 million Park Master Plan for capital improvements included in the 2013-2014 fiscal budget.
“We don’t think its going to cost that much,” said Costley, explaining the project would require a only simple design and minimal building materials. “There’s not a whole lot to a dog park,” he said.
City staff originally considered locating the off-leash facility at Elder Park, but at a hearing on the location last July, residents expressed concerns about the logistics.
According to city documents, residents complained that the Elder Park location was not appropriate due to its close proximity to homes and schools. The lack of parking in the area also concerned residents, as did the sanitation and safety that comes with a park that is not exclusive to residents and lacks supervision by city staff.
Kay Manning, a longtime resident of Monterey Park, told EGP that the new location eases her safety concerns related to keeping the dogs away from children. She is familiar with the Garvey Ranch Park location, and feels it will help address the problem many cities face with irresponsible pet owners.
“We don’t really want dog [waste] everywhere,” Manning said. “We don’t want people walking their dogs on our lawns or sidewalks, so lets give them a place where they can do that.”
Monterey Park Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian told EGP that the new location, which is not near many homes and is adjacent to long-, wide street, addresses many of the issues raised by residents.
“Garvey Ranch is a better choice because the layout lends itself to a dog park,” she said.
A dog owner herself, Real Sebastian said people concerned with sanitation and safety should visit a dog park before they form an opinion. She explained that in her personal experience people who frequent dog parks “self regulate” and tend to be more respectful by cleaning after their dogs.
“It’s a great amenity for our city,” said Real Sebastian.
The dog park would be the first and only of its kind in the area, with residents currently traveling to Los Angeles or Pasadena to find a dog-friendly park.
Nadine Whitlock recently moved to Monterey Park and told EGP she had not heard that the city is considering opening a dog park, but hopes to learn more about it at the hearing.
Once the commission hears from residents they will provide their recommendation to council. If they decide to move forward, the project could be completed by next summer Costley told EGP.
The Parks and recreation Commission hearing will be at 7 p.m. on held Oct. 14, hearing will be held at Garvey Ranch Park: 781 S Orange Ave. For information, call Dan Costley at (626) 307-1497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org