Many residents showed their support of the dog park by wearing red while other citizens representing the Lakeview Oaks neighborhood close to the park’s current location came out to voice their concerns on why the dog park needs to move.
Beverly Armento, a Lakeview Oaks homeowner, spoke to the council in support of the parks and recreation department’s suggestion to move the dog park to the new location proposed on the city’s website.
“I’ve lived in the neighborhood since 1989 and I urge you to accept the park manager’s recommendation to move the dog park to an alternate location in Brook Run,” she said. “Your own study said if the dog park remains where it is, all the trees in that area will be dead in eight to 10 years and many of us feel it is not wise to kill off four acres of hardwoods.”
Armento also said the current site does not follow best practices for other dog parks around the country, such as rotation of the land in order to save vegetation.
Saul Sloman, resident and volunteer at the dog park, echoed what many other proponents of the current location said about the shade of the surrounding trees providing a comfortable climate for owners and dogs alike, but also said cost and potential liability issues were reasons not to move the park.
“The current location has minimal cost for maintenance and we, as users, are very happy to volunteer to work together,” he said. “There is potential liability if the dog park is moved close to the skate park in terms of people getting hurt because of the shared parking lot, but the current location is secluded with its own parking.”
After the public comments portion of the meeting, city council members still debated on what should be done with the park.
While most of the council members agreed the new location for the dog park was not ideal, many said something needed to be done in order to protect the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods affected by the noise as well as the preservation of the trees in the area.
“I think the new location creates problems, such as the shared parking lots, but I think Brook Run needs an updated master plan before we start committing to this and that,” said Councilwoman Lynn Deutsch. “There are best practices for building dog parks and I want to explain to the proponents of the current dog park location that it meets virtually none of those best practices.”
Deutsch said the current location of the dog park showed a lack of planning and thought process and she said she felt the lack of empathy for those who live near the dog park area is “shocking.”
Councilman John Heneghan was the only council member who said he would be voting against the location change.
“The Brook Run Dog Park Association put forward a plan that I believe has merit because it aims to lower noise and mitigate any damages to vegetation,” he said. “I will be voting against moving the dog park and recommend we revisit the plan presented by the association because it has lower overall cost, but more importantly, because it is the right thing to do.”
A vote on the issue is set for June 24 at 7 p.m. at city hall.