Dear friends and neighbors:
The Public Hearing for the Proposed Temporary Dog Park at Harborside Park is:
- Tuesday, July 24th at 7pm
- Monday the 23rd as I have previously reported on multiple occasions.
PLEASE ACCEPT MY APOLOGIES as I know many of you have probably made scheduling accommodations to attend.
The hearing will occur right at the park, behind 1500 Garden. Given the inclement weather we have been having and are projected to have this week, the City is researching an inside location for Tuesday in case it rains. They will be sending out a notice / nixle tomorrow (Monday).
Incidentally, it was the threat of heavy rains Monday night that led me to look into alternate locations and when I discovered that the hearing is actually Tuesday.
As a reminder, the proposed idea is to create a temporary, separate area for dogs by fencing off a portion of Harborside Park closest to Park Avenue. The fence is expected to be a solid fence that would ensure a complete physical separation. In terms of size, the rendering that was on the City's website showed an area that was approximately 30% of the total area. I think, and most concur, that this is too big and should be more like 15-20%.
In terms of feedback I have received so far, here are some of the ideas / responses:
- A few people raised the idea of having it be a complete, shared space.
- One person suggested to make it dogs only.
- Two suggested taking down the perimeter fence altogether.
- Several do not want to see the space reduced at all.
- Most are supportive of the idea of creating separate areas, but want to get the size right and ensure full separation.
My strawman idea given the feedback so far that I believe would be a greatest good, least bad alternative for all those in the neighborhood would be:
- Allocate not more than 20% of the park to a dog area on the west side near Park Ave.
- Include a full perimeter fence around the dog area, with a solid fence along the east side facing the field.
- Remove the entire perimeter fence around the field and trim the shrubs back to create better access and visibility into the field.
- Level out, seed and better maintain the entire field.
Please note that this is a public hearing so notwithstanding this is my idea, it certainly does not have to be the final idea. That being said, we will hope to take away the feedback received that night, and incorporate it immediately into legislation to be heard and voted on at the 8/1 meeting. The goal, if there is community support, would be to effect change as early as possible before the school year starts or just after.
Additionally, and as a further reminder, any change would only be temporary until construction begins on the new park in ~24 months that will be built as part of Rebuild By Design. This will include all of Harborside Park and the empty lot that is just north of the park that is currently a construction staging area. If you have not already participated in the design and placemaking workshops for this area, I encourage you to do so. They are open to the public and they really need public participation to make sure they will work for our area.
With all this, I hope that all of you who have a vested interest in this area will attend the public hearing including those who live nearby, visit, and attend/are parents of those who attend the neighboring schools. Again, please accept my apologies.
And as always, feel free to reach out if you want to discuss further by email or by phone 201/208-1674.