The City Bark Park is a members only Bark Park. The City charges $10 for one dog and $5 for each additional dog. Dogs must display a license, current rabies tag, and Bark Park tag tio use the park. Our Bark Park sits in an 8 acre park that is isolated from the nearest houses and is unattended. The only way into the park is off a major four lane road that has no sidewalks or curbs so very few people walk to the park.. The park had one kiddie slide, two small picnic shelters just large enough for one picnic table and the Bark Park. The Bark Park has two enclosures, one about 60x100 the other about 60x250 surrounded by a split rail fence 30" tall and covered with wire mesh. Dogs routinely jump the fence. After a rain or when people leave the water faucet running, the bark Park gets muddy. Over the last year I have visited the park at least five times a week and seldom saw anyone using the park other than people with their dogs.Last fall after several complaints to the City about the fence and the mud, a large dump truck full of mulch appeared near the enclosure. By the end of the week a brand new children's playground was built within seven feet of the lowest part of the fence. The playground has three slides and other climbing things for little kids. The Bark Park still has a 30" fence and mud. Now families without dogs are coming to the park to use the new playground equipment. The kids squeal, and run or scream they are afraid of dogs. All which excite the dogs and several including Buddy have jumped the fence to try to play with the kids. It happens so fast.
There are several schools and another much larger park within two miles of the Bark Park that have the same playground equipment plus other stuff. When asked to remove the playground because dogs plus fast moving squealing little kids afraid of dogs is an ugly incident waiting to happen, the answer is the people who were using the park before the Bark Park wanted the Bark Park removed. Several us believe the best solution is to make the entire park a dog park without any other purpose.
The gate to the Bark Park is posted No Trespassing, members only. Anybody can walk in. Since January the City has sent Park Rangers to randomly check for dog tags and many citations have been written for no dog licenses, no rabies tag, trespassing, and defrauding an innkeeper as they are using a service without paying for it. It is not easy to get dogs registered. A trip to one building for the license, a trip to another to get the Bark Park membership-check or cash only, and a clerk may or may not be available to sell a Bark Park membership Monday-Friday 9a-4:30p only.
The parks and rec people say they do not have the budget to put in higher fencing, nor do they want to remove the playground equipment. Some of us are trying to get a Friends of the Bark Park organization started to fund raise or maybe even run the park. We are considering going to City Council but that might be burning a big bridge. The major issues are:
- Securing the Bark Park to make it safer for dogs. Higher fences, no playground
- Making it more difficult for non members to gain access to the Bark Park- electronic access
- Streamline membership process
- Fund raising
Anybody have experience in dealing with these issues? I have found a "manual" for building a "Friends" organization. But I have not built an organization from scratch.
I hate these tussles with people. Goo luck but little advice I'm afraid.
It does not sound like you are asking for much and I wish you the best in making the bark park safe to be used as intended.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
What you are trying to do is not going to be easy, and is going to take some time.
(1) You need to decide if youhave the time to invest, or if you can find someone who does.
(2) Start discussing the issues with the Bark park users. Find out if you have support for what you want to do.
(3) CAUTION: Do no make this an issue of which faciliity goes. If you force the city to decide between existing dog park, and existing kids park, the dogs will lose.
(4) Get an estimate for the cost of materials for a higher fence. Metal stakes, and wire mesh. Se if you can get your parks department to help on getting costs.
(5) Se if you can get Bark Park users to volunteer to install the fencing.
(6) Present the plan to your Park Board or City Council.
(7) Bark Park Users have to be committed to keep the park free of waste. Police each other, pick up after each other, whatever it takes. Don't give the anti-barkpark side any ammunition.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
I don't see why the playground and Bark Park can't coexist. A high enough fence should solve the problem of dogs hopping the fence and chasing down kids. The dog park down the street from me has a playground, a picnic area, 3 baseball fields and a soccer field. All taxpayers are entitled to get some enjoyment from public lands, IMO. I don't think you'll win the fight to get the playground removed especially since they just poured a lot of money into it.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.