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Residents urge city to reconsider site for dog park

Alhambra resident Danny Chau speaks limited English. But when he read on WorldJournal.com about a suggestion for a dog park near his home by New and Adams Avenues, he took action and walked into City Hall with his concerns. He met with Community Services and the Utility Department. He then sent out a petition in Chinese to his neighbors, and alerted them of a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting that would discuss the proposed dog park.
On Thursday, as a result of his actions, nearly 40 residents—most of them Chinese—showed up at the Joslyn Center at Story Park for the meeting. 
"This is the best turnout we've had," said Parks and Rec Commissioner Daniel Hutchinson.
Martin Ray, Director of Community Services, said that it is in the city's Strategic Plan to put a dog park in Alhambra. The proposed site would be on 30,000 square feet of land where New Avenue and Ramona Street diverge. The estimated cost for fencing would be about $54,000. Due to the limited space, there are no plans to separate the park into two sections—one for small dogs and another for larger dogs. 
Bonnie Kwan, who lives on New Avenue, said she was concerned with the health consequences of having a dog park so close to residential homes. "The pond at Almansor Park," she said, "the city is not cleaning it. So most likely the city is not going to clean up this dog park too."
Mary Hosokawa voiced similar concerns: "What are the health factors that will affect humans? Who's going to maintain the park?"
At a Feb. 2 City Council meeting, city staff said that the proposed dog park would be unstaffed. When asked at Thursday's meeting if there may be considerations of hiring staff, Ray stressed that nothing has been set in motion for the dog park, and that the plans are in its preliminary stages. "It's way too early to say we've decided on anything," said Ray.
The 30,000 square feet of land that is being considered for a dog park | Photo by Kyle Garcia
Other residents were concerned about the additional traffic that the dog park would bring in. 
"On New Avenue over there, if you have two cars parked, a third car would have to wait to pass. It's a narrow street," said Kwan, adding that this may hinder emergency vehicles. 
In a letter written to the Parks and Rec Commission, Ki Pang and Teresa Li, both residents of the area, said the dog park could present a hazard to children and the elderly. "Small children and senior citizens have limited ability to defend themselves," they said. "We cannot predict whether the dogs that go to the dog park are friendly or vicious."
Chau said that, taken altogether, the dog park could negatively affect the neighborhood's reputation. "The main thing is that the property value will go down for all the nearby houses," said Chau. "The answer should be 'no' for a dog park on this location."
The Parks and Rec Commission, in its final statements, expressed their gratitude for the residents who turned out for the meeting.
"You've shown that you're concerned about your neighborhood," said Hutchinson.  
Albert Lu, Vice President of the Parks and Rec Commission, said that he'd like to see if there are other sites that could be explored for the dog park. He added that he "would like to see how we will move forward with the concerns expressed by residents at the meeting." 
Chau said that there were many more residents who were opposed to the dog park, but did not speak during the meeting because of a language barrier. "Today I speak for myself, and for my neighbors who do not speak English," said Chau.

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13 thoughts on “Residents urge city to reconsider site for dog park”

  1. Why not a dog park?! It is for the community. With so many apartments and condos in Alhambra a dog park is a welcomed addition to the city in my eyes. Who cares if El Sereno, S Pasadnena or any other city residence come and use an Alhambra dog park. As far as house prices I would rather live in a community close or near a dog park. I hope the city really does consider placing a dog park in Alhambra. S Pasadnena has a dog park planned. Come on Alhambra ! Chop chop my dogs are waiting !!

  2. i grew up in Alhambra, going to Fremont Elementary School and Alhambra High School. I worked for the city’s Park and Recreation Department for two years before attending Orange Coast College and later, military service. I live in Cayucos CA now. Our dog park is supported by community service groups and maintained by dog owners and local citizens. It is not that hard to have a dog park. Look to schools that honor community service or groups who support Alhambra. We were once a city that cared. I can’t believe that much has changed.

    1. That may be a great idea to try. Let’s first call for volunteers to help clean the pond in Almansor Park, patrol the park to tell people not to bring dogs, skatebord or smoke, and report sprinkler and faucet leaks and follow up with the Parks and Recreation Department.

  3. Therer are some concerns about dog parks, but if the concerbs are reakm we should not let people walk their dogs on sidwalks and city parks becaue the dog droppings might be a health hazard, not to mention dirtying your shoes.

    1. As a matter of fact, it is against the law (Alhambra Municipal Code) to bring dogs to city parks.

  4. I share the concerns of Bonnie Kwan, Mary Hosokawa, Ki Pang and Teresa Li quoted in the article. The City is doing a poor job in maintaining the sanitary condition, law and order in city parks. There is a ban on bird feeding, bikes, skatebords, dogs, smoking, etc in parks. No one enforces those bans. There are always people feeding the geeses and ducks every day. Occassionally there are bikes, skatebords, dogs. And some smoke in the basketball court, inside cars in the parking lot with open windows, etc. Who knows what would happen with a dog park.

  5. Are we going to ask to residents of San Gabriel, El Sereno, Monterey Park, Temple City, South Pasadena, Monterey Park, and Temple City to help fund this park plus the yearly maintenance fee? If not, those residents and their dogs will enjoy it for free.

  6. As I commented in some other posts, Parks and Recreation has not been doing a good job in properly maintaining city parks (faucets leaking, lights not working, …), and I share people’s concerns that the dog parks would make the situation worse. Parks and Recreation needs to fix itself first.

    As to residents’ “previlege to voice their opinions in local government” in English, nowhere in the article suggests Danny Chau or anyone else does not speak English. Actually, it seems Chau’s English proficiency, though “limited,” is good enough to communicate “with Community Services and the Utility Department.” Yes, he sent out a petition in Chinese to his neighbors; but anyone can use any language in his/her private communication.

  7. We have a few people who want bike paths that nobody will use and now some people want a dog park which no-one will go to.

  8. Are these non- English speaking residents citizens and homeowners? If not, then I question their privilege to voice their opinions in local government. Learn English, then be heard in this country.

    1. I find this completely offensive! Just because a person is unable to speak English does not mean they should not have a say about their local government. A community is full of diversity; the non-English speaking and English speaking residents should be able to voice their opinions. The non-English speaking residents are part of the community and should not be neglected because of the language barrier. They live in the area and strive with it. They will be heard, whether you question their privilege of doing so or not.

  9. I disagree, I am pro for a dog park! I am a homeowner and live in Alhambra this is the first I hear about a proposal for a dog park. I wished I would have been informed and I would have also gather homeowners pro for a dog park. English or non English speaking people.

  10. The usual NIBY (Not in my back yard). Sorry to read that the city CAVED in to this opposition. According to a story I read on this subject the city “had been studying this proposal for two or three years” – at the time the story came out perhaps one or two years.One wonders why the residents in that proposed area oppose a small dog park, while not opposing the building of large dense condos.