I visited Costa Mesa’s Bark Park on Saturday, this weekend, and also visited the Irvine Central Bark Park. My goal was to find out how these facilities work, and whether or not folks are using them. As my readers know, I am proposed turning the little-used Lawn Bolwing Center, in Santa Ana’s Santiago Park, into our own dog park.
I found that the two parks had some similarities and a few differences.
Both parks were hopping with dogs and their owners. Just as I figured, the dog park concept is HUGE. There is a lot of demand. I spoke to dog owners at both parks. They all indicated that they use the facility regularly. Some of them come there daily! I also asked all of them if they ever heard of lawn bowling. Only one retired fellow had ever heard of it, out of some forty people that I spoke to.
Costa Mesa’s park is run by a community non-profit organization. It opened in 1994. Here is the rundown from their website:
The Costa Mesa Bark Park (CMBP) is a two acre fenced park where dogs can legally play and run leash-free. It is the only area in Costa Mesa where dogs are not required by ordinance to be on a leash. While the city has generously set aside the park area for this purpose, the costs associated with maintaining and improving the park are funded wholly by donations from the public. To this end, a volunteer committee, the Costa Mesa Bark Park Foundation, was established. The Foundation is totally comprised of volunteers. There are no paid positions. Any user of the park is considered a member of the Foundation and is invited to attend the monthly meetings and participate in discussions and planning. Voting privileges (for officers and major expenditures) are granted to any member who attends three meetings.
The Irvine Central Bark Park appears to be run by the City of Irvine. Their website doesn’t have a lot to say.
They have a lot of land set aside for this use in Irvine and plenty of amenities for dog owners, including awnings and chairs.
Dog fights at these parks are rare. Small dogs are separated in a smaller field. Sometimes owners get tense, but overall, from what I was told, folks and their dogs behave themselves – and pick up after themselves. I did not see any stray refuse at either dog park.
What I learned this weekend is that Santa Ana can catch up with Irvine and Costa Mesa. We can have our own dog park. We just need the political will to do this.
What do you think?
Click here to contact Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Director Gerardo Mouet. Click here to contact the Santa Ana City Council. Click here to contact Councilman Carlos Bustamante, who represents the Santiago Park area. You can contact City Manager Dave Ream’s assistant, Mark Lawrence, at MLawrence@santa-ana.org.