North End RUFF, Responsible Urbanites for Fido, held their monthly meeting to provide information regarding a pilot program for a dog park in the flights of, “the Gassy” officially known as, DeFilippo Park. All of those in attendance at the Nazzaro Center were paying full attention to the plans for the pilot program that will run through April, May and June of 2015. Fully funded by the Stanton Foundation, the program will not allow for permanent reconstruction of the park, but will certainly give dog owners and residents an idea of what the final plan could entail. The proposal deals with the two mid level flights, the first flight and the smaller level right above that. Double gates would be put in at the bottom and the top, both would be locked during off use hours. The gates plan to be “prison style” gates that are tall, in hopes to alleviate trespassing and misuse of the dog park.
The lower flight level will be for “bigger” dogs while the upper flight will be for “smaller” dogs, with gates separating the two flights. Each flight will have a “bathroom” area, with mulched sections featuring fake fire hydrants and “pee sticks.” Although this will not be included in the pilot program, ramps would be added to make all flights more accessible. Lighting is a point of emphasis and will not be permanently addressed for the pilot but there is development plans for lighting if a permanent dog park is approved.
Helping to maintain sanitation, a power wash cleaning will take place once a month, along with trash barrels in each flight, which the city will be maintaining. The proposed permanent park, if the pilot program goes as planned, will feature water, lighting, drainage, handicap accessibility and more unique features found in other urban dog parks.
Visual maps and concepts of the park will be available at the November meeting.
RUFF hopes that the proposed dog park not only leads to less un-leashed dogs, but they also hope it will end the flights of the Gassy being used for drugs, and drinking.
Questions and concerns from the audience maintained a tone for safety concerns and the need for maintenance:
- Fencing, are they locked and will the gates be tall enough?
- Will the planters be removed for the pilot program?
- (No, no major renovations will take place for the pilot program, but the planters will be, “cleaned up”)
- Who will unlock the gate in the morning and lock it up at night? What time will this take place?
- (The park will be open from about 6am to 9pm/10pm. Ruff and the city will be coordinating to make sure the lock will be activated accordingly.)
- The concern of the park being a health issue for kids and toddlers. Four types of intestinal parasites can be linked between dog feces being passed to children. The concern was with the plan to power wash and “flush” the dog parks into the playground areas.
- Some expressed the need for improvements to be made to this area of the Gassy. Saying that they think it is worth a try, and that it cannot be worse than what it is now.
- Worries about the gates being locked on time and on schedule during weather conditions in the winter.
- If the city is so committed, why not put up the fencing now to try and combat the behavior in the flights before RUFF comes in?
For more information on RUFF, see their website and Facebook page.