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Will council bite at dog park plans?

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POSTED May 19, 2009 1:26 a.m.
It’s a doggone dilemma if there ever was one.
The Manteca City Council is being asked tonight to approve a dog park site plan for Woodward Park at the corner of Bridewell and Woodward avenues when they meet at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
The funding to create the park that has $108,000 in upfront costs would have to come from the park fee fund reserve that has a demand for other projects already noted previously by the council as priorities. That money can’t be used to help balance the general fund next year that still has a working deficit of at least $2.5 million. It will cost $15,000 annually to maintain the park primarily to make sure the dog droppings are picked up daily. The $15,000 would have to be covered by the general fund each year.
On Tuesday, the council is expected to go ahead and approve seeking bids for the $400,000 landscaping of the Yosemite Avenue and Highway 99 interchange. Again, the funds for the project are restricted. In this case it is Measure K money set aside for landscaping purposes as part of the $20 million project. When that project is completed, it will cost the city $50,000 a year to maintain it from general fund sources.
The council could approve the dog park and recommend that a community based group come up with all or most of the funds for either constructing the dog park pr maintaining it. That, however, is exactly what happened about eight years ago when the City Council at the time went ahead and approved a dog park adjacent to the parks and recreation offices on Magnolia Avenue as part of the Civic Center complex. At the time, though, a group calling itself DOGs – Dog Owners Group – advanced the proposal that they’d raise the money to build the facility if the city provided the land. The effort didn’t get off the ground.
At the very least, the council could approve the plans as part of the long-range Woodward Park development strategy and assign a priority to the project. That would allow another group to form to support the project. The city could also commit future park fees as they become available from new construction to go toward the dog park.
A group of 20 people appeared at a special meeting called Feb. 12 to discuss the dog park project.
From that meeting suggestions were made to sell brick pavers to go at the dog park with donors’ names inscribed to help raise funds to build the facility. They also suggested raising the city’s dog license fees and an extra one or two dollars to cover the $15,000 annual maintenance costs.
The plan as adopted by the parks and recreation commission calls for 24,000 square feet or a half acre for large dogs and 13,500 square feet or a third of an acre for small dogs with a double entry gate.
It would take advantage of existing fencing around the adjoining 10-acre storm retention basin plus utilized existing shade trees that include a number of large sycamores.




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