A Parking Lot Becomes A Barking Lot–Mike Lawler

Recently while driving around the neighborhood with the family I’ve been spotting lawn signs bearing the message “We want a local dog park!” My daughter Isabel, the consummate animal lover, expressed curiosity about what that was all about, so I thought I’d let you readers know the status of this long-playing story.

If you are addicted to local news as I am, you may remember that this movement for an official dog park started back in May of 2007 when there were some conflicts at one of La Crescenta’s unofficial dog parks, Two Strike Park. County officials naturally pointed out to the participants that off-leash dogs are illegal in County parks. At that juncture two of the participants, Carol Fodora and John Klose, began to form the idea of getting a legal dog park for the valley. They approached the CV Town Council, started a petition drive, and got legitimate by forming a group called CV Dogs. They talked one of their members, Cheryl Davis, into running and getting herself elected to the Town Council as (and I’m not making this up) “the Dog Park Candidate.”

In 2008, they began to have some serious meetings with the County about the logistics of the dog park. This will be a big leap for the County. They currently have no dog parks under their jurisdiction, and in fact will have to amend County dog leash laws to accommodate the dog park concept. Several sites for CV’s proposed dog park have been identified, and weighed by both County staff and the community. There were several debris basins on the list and obviously with the threat of flooding after our fire those have been rejected. It appears to be boiling down to two sites at CV Park, one the open lot to the west of the base of New York, and the other, the extreme north end of the parking lot for the community building at the bottom of Dunsmore. The latter seems to be the favored choice.

The next step is to have some community meetings in February or March to gauge the public’s reaction to the proposals. In my view, what’s not to like? The availability of a dog park will be good for real estate values, with some dog-loving buyers being attracted to the area just on that count alone. Dog parks have a family-friendly feel that’s a nice match to our family-friendly neighborhoods. A dog park can serve as an evacuation center for animals, such as what was needed during the Station Fire. And it can be used for dog-ish public events, such as vaccination clinics, or K-9 Police demonstrations and obedience training. Plus dog parks are just plain fun! It’s a great place to meet your neighbors and socialize, or just to enjoy the antics of man’s best friend.

I hope you’ll join me at these upcoming public meetings to support the push for a local dog park in CV. You’ll find out when they are here in this paper, or by logging on to www.cvdogs.org. As I finish writing this column, I’ll be logging onto the CV Dogs website to join their organization. You get a free CV Dogs T-shirt with each membership, and you’ll see me wearing mine proudly around the neighborhood.

CV Dogs is an organization that’s really got it together. They’re organized, focused and vocal. And they know how to work the system in a positive way for a positive goal.

Speaking of which, I want to give you an update on the oak tree issue on Frances Avenue that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Both Steve Pierce, former president of the CV Town Council, and Cheryl Davis, current president (yeah… the dog park candidate) have gotten involved, and are talking with the neighbors, the developer and the County to try to reach an understanding, and to facilitate some dialog between the factions. And really that’s what it takes to make our neighborhoods work… communication. Thanks Town Council!

Mike Lawler is the president of the
Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley.

He can be reached at lawlerdad@yahoo.com.