“Congratulations Pacific Palisades on a dog park,” said Renata Simril President of the Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles, at its meeting on Thursday, January 18, at the Green Meadows Recreation Center.
The Board approved the authorization to submit a Measure A grant application to receive funding to create an off-leash dog park, which would include new fencing, path of travel (concrete path, entry plaza), synthetic surfacing, landscaping, security lighting, site amenities (shade structure, hydration station, benches, trash receptables and dog agility equipment.) The amount of the grant request is $1.5 million.
At the hearing, Councilmember Traci Park spoke in favor of the dog park. She recounted the history of the park, which began four decades ago.
“Residents were unable to move it forward,” she said, and then added, “About 10 years ago, Leslie Campbell, Lynn Miller and Carol Ross formed the Palisades Dog Park Working Group, to try and get the park in place.”
She noted that her predecessor Mike Bonin said he had introduced a motion to Rec and Parks for a dog park.
But residents learned in 2017 that resolution had never passed. (In the years that CTN has listened to the Commissioner meetings, former Councilman Bonin never argued in favor for any project in the Palisades. When he attended a Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting in 2019, he suggested that the community raise the money for a dog park. That same year the City helped Westwood fund a $800,000 dog park.)
The key to receiving money for a dog park was backing from the Council office requesting Measure A funding. When Park ran for Councilmember, she could not understand why the park, which was backed with 4,000 signatures and had wide-community support had not gone forward.
She told Commissioners, that “This park has overwhelming support. I was at a meeting with 120 people in the Palisades and every one of them supported this project. I have never seen 120 people agree on anything.”
She thanked prior Commissioner Joe Halper for his help. Park also noted that a dog park would “lower barriers for people who might want to adopt a dog. I hope that this project can finally go forward.”
Campbell spoke during public comment. “Eight years ago, we began collecting signatures for a park. My hair has gone grey since I started this project.”
At one point, a member of RAP, Craig Raines drew up plans for the park. “I’ve taken them out of the closet and dusted them off,” said Campbell as she showed Commissioners the plans.
Miller said that she had served on the Palisades Park Advisory Board for 10 years and “at every quarterly single meeting the topic of off-leash dogs in parks came up.” She told the commissioners that although we do have parks in this area, “there is a significant need,” none allow dogs off-leash.
The Palisades is surrounded by hiking trails, but most are single file, many do not allow dogs and the ones that do, require leashes. Residents illegally allow dogs off-leash by Park Recreation Centers and on sports fields.
“This park is widely supported in our community,” Miller said, adding that in 2016, it was voted as the number one need in the Palisades.
David Card, who is a member of the PAB and the Pacific Palisades Community Council Chair emeritus said he was speaking officially for the Council, which supports a dog park. He explained that the Palisades is isolated geographically and that the closest dog park is on VA land in Brentwood.
“We have many parks and state beaches, but dogs are not allowed to run off-leash,” he said. (Dogs are not allowed on the beaches, either.) “Our parks are overrun with off-leash dogs and have become defacto dog parks.”
The measure passed unanimously, and after the hearing Campbell said, “Traci was AMAZING and David [Card] representing the PPCC was ‘spot on!’ Lynne, Carol and I are overjoyed at finally crossing this threshold. It took us eight years, but we were on the shoulders of the many others that pursued this goal for 30 years before us. Persistence pays and we all win!”