The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) has proposed plans to convert the park on the 66 block of Sueno to a fenced-in dog park.
The IVRPD Board convened on Feb. 22 to address comments and concerns from the staff about said dog park and to finalize a location, according to the IVRPD Special Meeting Agenda. The project is proposed to begin in Spring Quarter.
According to Board member Pegeen Soutar, the original proposed location for the park was Anisq’Oyo’ Park, next to I.V. Drip. However there were concerns that the presence of dogs could potentially disrupt the park’s pond and the birds that reside there. Because of this, they decided to move the park to Seuno.
Soutar, who was accompanied by her own dog, Honeybear, revealed that both she and Jacob Lebell, the Chairman of the IVRPD board, are leading the project.
Lebell referred to the park on Sueno as a “fairly nice park, but very underutilized.”
Currently, the park consists of a big grass field with a children’s play structure and a couple of picnic tables. The IVRPD is currently considering the possibility of transferring the play structure to Children’s Park once the dog park is established, Lebell said.
Renovations to the park will be made, including surrounding the perimeter with a fence and possibly a “double-gate” to make it easy for dogs to get in and out. Lebell also expressed the IVRPD’s desire to eventually expand the area out in front of the park to include “more and nicer picnic tables.”
The decision to convert one of the parks to a dog park was proposed by Lebell after he took notice of the increased amount of dogs in Isla Vista since students have begun to be allowed to have emotional support animals. He also realized that a number of I.V. residences do not have yards that are equipped for dogs to run in.
The IVRPD has also discussed the possibility of including a drinking fountain for the dogs and structures like a hollowed log for the dogs to play on.
Lebell’s vision of the park would eventually include a reduced cost or free dog training classes there in an attempt to create a place where “there could be a more centrally located place for dog information.”
The Board will be reaching out to the houses in the neighboring vicinity once the project is underway to let them know the changes that will be occuring. The park would have a curfew, like most dog parks, to ensure that people and their dogs do not utilize it past daytime hours. However, a specific time has not yet been decided on.
The Board currently does not have a definitive timeline for the finalized project. Lebell said the plan may be minorly delayed, depending on how impacted local construction companies are by the recent fires and flooding in the Montecito area.
According to Lebell, the park’s main purpose would be to create a place where dog owners could organize together and let their dogs run around freely and socialize.