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After Complaints, Officials Say Lighting is the First of Many Improvements to Dog Park

The quality of life is dismal in the park's off-leash area, dog owners say.

A dust-up over delays in improvements to San Bruno’s dog park has resulted in the city vowing to make nighttime lighting a priority.

Pledged donations now total $1,500, half the amount needed to buy and install lights for ’s off-leash area, said community services director Randy Schwartz.

Commodore visitors have long complained that the area is dirty and smells bad, offers no security and lacks the facilities of other dog parks. In August, citing a lack of consensus and a tight budget, the commission . Dog owners have since turned their attention to sprucing up the city's only dog park, beginning with raising funds for lighting.

Then signals got crossed. Dog owners say they were asked to wait for instructions from the city's Parks and Recreation Commission as to how and where to contribute, but that no account was established.

Then came a notice that said "no one has expressed interest in lights in the park and no donations were ever received,” dog owner Claire Zvanski wrote in an email, presented at the March 16 meeting of the parks commission. Her conclusion: "We are at the bottom of the priority list for the Commission and the City of San Bruno.”

However, since the meeting, the commission has engaged dog owners with productive results, Schwartz said. All involved agreed to avoid depleting the lighting account by funding smaller projects, such as much-needed benches.

 “We came together on lots of nice points,” he said. “The Commodore dog park is definitely something we look at as permanent. And as resources become available, we plan to make more improvements. The dog owners have some excellent suggestions.”

Zvanski urged the commissioners to visit the South San Francisco and Brisbane parks, which San Bruno dog owners prefer even though they are farther away.

“We do want you to see that a dog park can be well cared for and maintained if people work together,” she said in an email.

“We are thankful for the basic services we receive such as regular stocking of bags,” she continued. “We are still looking forward to other improvements to make our park nicer and easier to maintain. We are anxious to work together with parks and recreation staff to make this park a better place for all.”

The commission has established a special account to fund improvements. Potential donors can contact Schwartz at rschwartz@sanbruno.ca.gov.

A list and description of dog parks throughout the county is available on the city's website.

Bardi Rosman Koodrin April 05, 2011 at 01:09 AM
I'd stopped going to this park last winter, when I noticed no one was picking up after their dog's droppings. People told me they'd decided to "wait until the rains let up" and they promised to clean up then. I decided to revisit the park last week, and once again, noticed certain owners were not even watching their dogs, as they were turned the opposite way to chat with other owners. Rather convenient, I thought, for if they didn't see the dog in the act, they wouldn't have to clean up after it. I'm disgusted with the mess in that park, and do not want to return, which in the end hurts my dog as it is the only place in San Bruno where dogs are welcome.
Martin Ricard April 05, 2011 at 01:42 AM
I'm curious why it seems so hard to get people to follow the rules at the dog park. Is it a broken windows theory problem? Is it the location? Is it the actual people who frequent the park? I would imagine that folks would want the city's only dog park (and it looks like it's going to stay that way for a while) in better condition so that everyone can enjoy it.

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