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New Fence at Memorial May Give Dogs Their Day

The City Council voted to approve a new fence at Memorial Park to separate the baseball field from another area, which could often be used by dogs.

It's not quite an officially , but a plan to will bring dogs and their owners a bit closer to having a dedicated space in Albany for their community.

The approved Monday night. The plan has been endorsed by many dog owners and sports team-related park users.

Jack Miller, of , said of the plan that "there have been a few wrinkles, but it's worked out really well." He said it will require financial support from the Albany High Boosters Club, and "sweat equity" from the Little League, but expressed appreciation for the collaborative nature of the process. 

Several dog owners who frequent the park attended the meeting, and spoke in favor of the plan, which will divide the area into two distinct sections: a square-shaped baseball field to the west, and a narrower rectangular fenced field to the east.

Nina Wilder, a frequent user of the park who lives in Berkeley, spoke to the council about the importance of the space for the dog community, and of the dog birthday parties and dog barbecues that take place there.

"I want to speak for my dog," she said. "It is really the social center of my dog's life. And even in the winter, my dog will drag me down to the park, and I have to shake the gate to show my dog that it is still locked."

Many dog owners already use the park, but their access has been limited because of sports games, and field maintenance that generally lasts from November through February.

The fence will allow year-round access for dogs, although scheduled, permitted uses would still trump dog activities in the area.

There has also been some question about possible use of the area by soccer teams, officials said Monday night, but there had been no resolution on that question before the meeting.

Off-leash hours at the park currently start at 7 p.m., Janet Seltzer of Albany told the council. But she said games often stretch past 8 p.m., leaving many dog owners in the lurch. 

"I live a block from the high school, so people will text me (asking) ... 'Is there still baseball?' Essentially, we can't use the field," she said. "This seems like such a perfect solution. It allows the park to be used concurrently for two different uses."

Albany resident, and dog owner, Kamala Appel agreed, saying the solution will create a shared space that can be used more fully by both dogs and baseball players.

She said many dozens of dog owners use the space currently, and she manages a list of 40 email addresses for some of them.

"It's brought a whole section of our city together that I probably wouldn't know otherwise. We're really friends," she said.

Everybody makes mistakes ... ! If there's something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at emilier@patch.com. 

Eileen McNally June 09, 2011 at 12:23 AM
This is good! This is very good! Anybody have the ETA?
Emilie Raguso June 09, 2011 at 10:14 PM
According to our last story -- “It’s a matter of fitting it in the schedule of whomever we end up choosing (for the contract),” Leach said. “It shouldn’t take more than a week to install the fence. We hope to get it done by the middle of July.” http://patch.com/A-hZNs There do seem to be some open questions on this... whether the fence will be open when there are no sports happening... and how soccer will affect the situation. We might need to do a "part 3" of this story. :)

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