During its Monday meeting, the Glendale Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission voted to recommend City Parking Lot 11, located in the 200 block of East Colorado Street, and the Garfield Campus at Glendale Community College as locations for dog parks in the city.
This decision comes after the City Council formerly approved Lot 11 as a dog park site in April 2022, before later asking city staff to hold off on carrying out the Lot 11 contract and to consider three additional and/or alternative dog park locations: Palmer Park, Brand Park and GCC Garfield.
Currently there are no designated dog parks in Glendale other than one in Crescenta Highlands, which is quite far from the majority of the city’s residents.
Zachary Mueting, a consultant with RJM Design Group, assisted the city in creating a feasibility study on these three locations based on each site’s conditions — such as, available acreage, noise buffers, shade, topography and whether a dog park would displace any amenities — as well as overall demand and community feedback from workshops, online surveys and more.
Based on these findings, Mueting determined that not one of these sites alone would meet the community’s demand for a dog park, categorizing Palmer Park as not suitable and Brand Park and GCC Garfield as less than suitable. To meet the demand, he said the city would need to look into a bigger site or consider multiple small sites. Ultimately, the commission went with the latter by recommending Lot 11 and GCC Garfield, however, commission President Stephen Meek and board member Ara Kalfayan did express interest in finding a larger location.
According to Mueting, the ideal size for a dog park is about one acre. Of the sites examined, a dog park at Brand Park would come the closest to meeting this marker with the portion of the park being considered at 0.9 acres. The space at Palmer Park would amount to 0.1 acres and GCC Garfield and Lot 11 would be 0.5 acres. Despite the optimal size Brand Park would provide, more than a dozen community members spoke vehemently against this location during public comment.
Marta Phillips, who said she lives a mile from Brand Park, expressed her discontent with the possibility of a dog park at Brand Park.
“Brand Park is truly a gem in our jewel city. … The notion of adding a dog park in the middle of this gem is very concerning,” she said. “The resulting noise and added traffic congestion alone will ruin the tranquility of such a special and beautiful environment.”
Residents also emphasized the importance of maintaining the only open space in Brand Park to allow for children to play freely and remain open for special events and picnicking.
Commission board member Susan Wolfson validated the concerns of community members.
“I’m a big fan of doing what people want and clearly, people near Brand Park don’t want a dog park in that park,” she said. “It’s not about what I want; it’s what they want that matters because they’re the people who are going to be the most impacted by it.”
Wolfson also noted her confusion over the City Council postponing the Lot 11 contract for a dog park to consider additional sites, saying that this decision “muddies the water unnecessarily.”
Commenters Patty Silversher and Mary Baldwin both suggested reconfiguring the community garden at Palmer Park to create a dog park specifically for small dogs at that location. While commissioners and city staff were receptive to the possibility of two separate dog parks for small and large dogs, they concluded that GCC Garfield and Lot 11 would be preferable.
At his last meeting as deputy director of park services, park planning and development, Koko Panossian urged the commission against Palmer Park.
“My professional opinion after doing this for 20 years and my last recommendation before I depart would be to urge you not to consider Palmer Park because you are going to be displacing 50 elderly individuals who [enjoy] that community garden,” he said, adding that all 50 plots in the community food garden are reserved primarily by seniors.
Panossian also noted that creating dog parks at Lot 11 and GCC Garfield will add greenspace in areas that need it the most, calling them “ideal sites.”
Commission board member Regina Joy Alcazar agreed that GCC Garfield should be developed.
“I would definitely like to see that campus turned into a more open space that serves the community,” she said.
Another concern brought up by residents during public comment was the safety of having dog parks at all given the potential for dog fights and violence.
In response to this, board member Henrik Sardarbegian acknowledged these concerns, but ultimately said it was up to the owner’s discretion whether they want to take that risk and visit a dog park.
First published in the September 23 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.