I live in a town of about 90,000 people stuck right in the middle of Tampa and Orlando and currently the town has only one dog friendly park. Unfortunately, that park is on the far south side of town, the DiOGe park, dedicated to a police dog killed in action a few years back. I live on the far north side of town, however and it take a good 30-40 minutes to get there depending on traffic.
There is however, a park about 10 minutes from me that is wide open, plenty of fields and grass, and people already take their dogs to walk there anyway at all times of day and everyone I have met there has been friendly and playful (the dogs, not the people). It would make a fantastic dog park.
So I wonder what would be involved in getting the city to make that a dog park. I gather at some point I would have to go before the city and actually ask, but I'm not sure where to begin...
Does anyone here have any experience on this kind of thing?
Sorry, I really don't, but we had a dog park in Memphis when I lived there and I never went. There were too many horror stories. I am really leery of dog parks because there are a few folks who will take a dog there that really should not be allowed to run loose among other dogs. Just my .02.
There are a few dogs parks folks on here have talked about that are really good tho. If I remember right, Hershey Kisses dad was involved in getting a good one established, or at least could tell you what a good one is like.
I think you would have to start with some sort of info collecting from people around your city and especially the ones you see there already with the dogs..
then go about making up some sort of "plan" with financial aspects, safety issues, etc and then go to the board with it. The closest park to me is about 30 minutes away, I wish there was one closer!!
How is the economy in your area? This will cost the city/county money and if they are cutting costs, getting a new item added will be an uphill battle.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
It is going to depend on how you local govt is set up. Here we have a Parks and Trail Advisory Board. They meet once a month. They are the custodians of the park system. This is where we started to talk about dog parks. See if you have something similar. In general, real people, volunteer citizens.
Next step if that doesn't apply, contact your Parks Parks Department or Public Works. Ask them who is responsible for the parks and planing.
Next contact you City Council person and ask there.
Next thing is to put together a petition. It will be good to talk with the people previously mentioned first, so that you understand any issues that may exist. Try to address them in you petition.
Do a web search on dog parks. You will find the results of several studies regarding the benefits of same, designs, ways to administer them.
The place you are targeting that others use for the same purpose. Talk to them, get ideas, incorporate into petition. Remember, everyone will not have the exact same goals and you are trying to gather as much support as possible, so compromise is key.
Start circulating the petition. Start at that park with those users. Try to get them to take copies and circulate to their friends. If you can, have them available to be signed at this, and the other dog park, but collecting, or checking daily would be advisable.
While this is going on, try to atttend a couple public meeting of the Park Board or City Council. Here there is always the opportunity for residents to raise topics not on the adgenda. This could be the opportunity to find out wht may be in progress, raodblocks that may be present, whatever.
Now comes the tricky part. Success will depend a lot on how much support you can demonstrate. A hundred signatures on a petition is great, (100, Husband, wife, voting age kids, cousins, neighbor (including all of the above)). BUT if you can get the topic on the agenda, and then have those 100+ people show up in support, you are on your way.
PS: Anticipate this taking the better part or more than a year, and that is just to get a plan in place to do something. Anticipate lots of verbal support when you are face to face with someone, but don't expect them to actually put forth any effort to help you succeed, other than to ask you if the park in official yet.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.