Small dogs win big as the Newport Beach Parks, Beaches and Recreation Committee approved the proposed modifications to the Civic Center Dog Park this week to include a section for little dogs.
Currently there is no separation between big and small dogs at the dog park, and all sizes and breeds are allowed to romp playfully across the whole park in a relatively safe, off-leash environment.
Vice Chair Englebrecht expressed his disappointment that the original plan for the park did not have the foresight to include a small dog section.
Feedback from dog park users prompted the PBR staff to propose changes that would make the park more user-friendly for dogs and their owners.
One such feedback was concern for naturally shy, frail, and easily overwhelmed dogs that needed a section all their own.
For many dog owners, the park was not user-friendly towards their smaller four-legged friends.
Addressing Englebrecht’s comments, Laura Detweller, Recreation & Senior Services director, admitted it is a small park and longer in length than width yet the land drove that configuration.
She went on to state that the two-year old park is tremendously successful, though they found only the front half or lower section of the park had the most use, leaving the upper section unused.
The proposal has designated the upper or north end of the dog park (the section farthest away from the main entrance) for small dogs less than 25 pounds. It will include its own double-gated entrance facing MacArthur Blvd. and access points to the rest of the park via maintenance gates.
Other modifications in the proposal include an additional water fountain for the small dog park. All signs will be updated with the new policies and procedures for use of the small dog park.
During the same meeting, the commission approved the Dog Park Ad Hoc Committee’s proposal for the west Newport Beach Lower Sunset View Park undeveloped property as the prime study for a potential dog park, to be funded by the 2015/16 CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) budget.
This area was selected as number one out of a prioritized list of four as the location to put in a new dog park. The West Newport area sits high above a bluff and offers panoramic views of the ocean.
This undeveloped property sits away from homes and other competing interests, has nearby parking and is almost one acre. It also fulfills the need for a dog park on the west end of town.
This proposal met with disapproval from some of the residents attending the meeting who cited safety concerns, noisy dog issues and insufficient parking.
The second choice is at Lower Castaways, a property already designated for use as a park in the near future and the largest parcel of land. The dog park would only take a portion of the park and meets the criteria of a dog park in the west end of town.
The two least favorite choices are Bonita Canyon Sports Park and the AT&T property across from it. Bonita is city owned land already designated as a park with parking nearby, but sits too close to Civic Center Dog Park.
The AT&T property, though the third largest parcel of land, would need to be purchased and is still located too close to a dog park.