At Monday's City Council meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission is set to recommend to the council a dog-related use and maintenance plan for Memorial Park.
The commission worked on the plan with the Dog Ad Hoc Committee since June.
As part of the recommended plan, dogs would be allowed in Section B—the section of the park mainly used by dogs – from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. everyday. A “Good Neighbor” sign would also potentially be posted in that section of the park. Dogs would be banned from Section A—the area of the park generally designated for sports—at all times.
Albany police would enforce the hours, "as the officers are the only city personnel with the authority to enforce the city’s municipal codes,” according to city staff reports. Park-goers would be encouraged to self-monitor, but if an unresolvable conflict arose, the police would need to be called.
“This has been an emotional issue that has included the feeling that residents and park users’ quality of life has been or could be negatively impacted,” according to the staff report.
Residents who live near the park have had ongoing problems with dogs at the park including dog barking and fights, damaged fields and a lack of parking in their neighborhood due to “dog park” visitors. Dog owners have defended their use of the park, saying it is a place to exercise and socialize their pets.
Staff has also looked into Section B lawn maintenance and will recommend additional reseeding throughout the year. The field would require closure for about three months a year for the grass to regenerate. Albany fields are typically closed for two months each year for the same reason. The Section B closure would probably happen from November to March, according to staff reports.
The plan's financial impact to the city would be about $2,000 annually, mainly for lawn maintenance, with a one-time $1,000 cost to reconfigure the irrigation system in the park’s Section B, according to the reports.
*See Patch's look into Memorial Park's dog dilemma and more coverage.
Click the "Keep me posted" button below this story for an email update when we write about dog issues in Albany. See the rules for the fenced area at Memorial Park here.