2007-04-13 / Community

Lack of funding puts the collar on dog park

Some residents worried 1-acre park would cause traffic problems for neighboring homes
By Matt Smolensky Special to the Acorn

Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District Board members said they won't move forward with a proposed dog park in Camarillo until the district has a better idea what the park will cost and how to pay for it.

The decision to hold off on the much-debated dog park came during last week's board meeting in Camarillo.

If approved, the new dog park would be the second in the city. The 1-acre park was slated to be built between the Camarillo Community Center and El Descanso Elementary School.

Park Superintendent Daryl Wagar said the proposed park would be completely fenced in, with only one entrance located at the lot's southern corner.

"We'd buffer it from the residences on either side . . . and from the school area," Wagar said.

He said a walking path would remain across Community Center Park, situated between the fenced area and the school.

Board director Bob Kelley said residents of neighborhoods near the proposed park were concerned that the increased traffic generated by a dog park would have a negative impact on the parking situation in the area.

"I haven't had one person call me from the area . . . in favor of this dog park," Kelley said.

In response to parking concerns, Wagar said the dog park's only entrance would be "a long walk" from any residential parking area and said public parking space near the entrance was ample.

According to district officials, residents were also concerned for the safety of children, both around the dogs and from potential child predators who could be drawn to the area because of the park's proximity to an elementary school.

If approved, Wagar said the facility would involve the removal of a hill and a road on the proposed lot, as well as additional landscaping.

General Manager Daniel LaBrado said the project would cost between $20,000 and $30,000 in addition to costs for upkeep, maintenance and additional staffing.

Wagar said the figure could be higher, approaching $40,000, but both LaBrado and Wagar cautioned that the estimates were tentative.

Wagar also said "most . . . dog parks are partially funded by private organizations," and that additional funding would be sought through outside grants.

LaBrado said "Camarillo has a lot of dog owners," and that he thought the community could support two dog parks. Camarillo's existing dog park is located at Camarillo Grove Park.

Chairperson Patty Hamm agreed and said the city's only other dog park- located at the far east side of the city- is too far away for most Camarillo residents.

Updates on the improvement of Camarillo Grove Park and further consideration of the proposed new dog park will take place at the board's regularly scheduled May meeting.

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