A small group of Arroyo Grande citizens is looking to keep the City Council from putting a local dog park to sleep.
The group, led by resident Jan Scott, wants to form a nonprofit association to take over management and maintenance of the Elm Street off-leash dog park. The future of the park, which opened in 2009, is in jeopardy after a previous nonprofit association suddenly pulled out of its agreement with the city in January.
“We think it’s a great asset to the community, and we didn’t want to see it close,” Scott said. “I knew that if no one stepped up [the council] might close it.”
The Five Cities Dog Park Association, an all-volunteer organization, was heavily involved in the creation and operation of Elm Street dog park, including raising $123,000 to get the park built, assisting with maintenance, and provided morning monitors.
The group abruptly pulled out of the agreement on Jan. 29 of this year after butting heads with city staff over plans to renovate the park. Shortly after that, the City Council voted to allocate $7,800 for staff to provide “minimal maintenance” for six months while the city figured out what to do with the park.
At a May 28 meeting, the council directed city staff to begin working with Scott’s group. Scott said her group plans to submit paperwork to become an official nonprofit organization. Once the group is fully qualified, they must hammer out an agreement with the city, according to John Rogers, Arroyo Grande’s director of recreation services.
“Once the group has official status, the city will work with them to develop an agreement and have this agreement approved by the City Council,” Rogers said. “In the meantime, city staff will assist and advise the group however we can.”
That process could take between two and six months to complete. Rogers said the city would continue to fund “minimal maintenance” at the park until an agreement is finalized.