A motion passed unanimously in support of allocating resources to finalize an off-leash Plummer Park dog park design. Mayor Pro-Tem Sepi Shyne made the motion at last night’s regular West Hollywood city council meeting to authorize City Staff to start with a budget of $100,000 for the design of the park and to fast-track the project while looking into adding astro turf in place of wood chips, drainage components and shade elements. City Staff will approach the council with additional costs to install the park at a later date.
“What is the likelihood that a dog park in Plummer Park won’t be well loved and over subscribed?” Asked council member John D’Amico. “The dog park we have [at West Hollywood Park] and the one we have on Sunset have become well beloved. People go there every day. We’re basically making a decision that this is going to be permanent, that now the rest of the park will be designed upon Great Hall, Long Hall and the dog park. Everything else can come or go in some way.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Shyne did not love the idea of wood chips and suggested turf be installed instead. However, turf would require drainage to be installed and it tends to get about 20 degrees hotter than wood chips, so additional shading elements would be taken to consideration. It would also mean there would be a longer commitment with the park.
Helen Collins, Facilities and Field Services Division Manager, explained that the difference in costs would be in the ballpark of an additional $30,000 to $40,000 for the design and that it may add a cost upwards of $200,000 to $300,000 to the $350,000 already being proposed bumping the cost to roughly $700,000 to $800,000 for a permanent Plummer Park Dog Park.
Mayor Meister asked for a longer term commitment that would last several years. She said she supported Mayor Pro-Tem Shyne’s proposal to use astro turf if it will be used for longer term and agreed that shading would be needed.
Council member Erickson pointed out that it would take a year for the astro turf to get installed and that the drainage would be a major factor in the delay. A fast track could maybe see the park completed in nine months.
Council member Lindsey Horvath seconded Mayor Pro-Tem Shyne’s motion. It passed unanimously.
In January 2021, the City Council directed staff to explore implementing a pilot off-leash dog play area as a temporary measure and as a precedent to a larger, future conversation about the long-range vision for Plummer Park over the next several years. The intent is for the pilot to be constructed as soon as possible while the city proceeds with the community conversations, programming, and design as part of a new comprehensive improvement plan for the entire park.
A Pilot Off-Leash Area Site Study and Public Facilities Commission, The Urban Design & Architecture Studio, analyzed two potential site locations for the pilot off-leash area: the “West Park” location adjacent to N. Vista Street, and the “East Park” location adjacent to N. Fuller Avenue. The City Council’s Plummer Park Ad-Hoc Subcommittee met on April 12, 2022, to review these potential sites and initial design concepts. Numerous considerations were discussed including adjacency to residential uses, noise transmission, adjacent recreation facilities, current uses of the spaces, costs associated with bringing necessary infrastructure lines, and so forth.
On May 11, 2022, staff presented a preliminary off-leash concept design to the Public Facilities Commission. Attendees discussed the pros and cons of ground cover options of engineered wood chips or artificial turf. Due to the approximately $200,000 in additional up-front costs and additional annual maintenance costs associated with artificial turf, staff concluded that engineered wood chips are a preferable ground cover solution for the temporary off-leash area.
In June of 2022, the City Council directed staff to move forward with the implementation of the “West location” parallel to N Vista St., adjacent to the tennis courts, and return with a funding allocation and an agreement for services to construct the project. Staff has developed a concept design. Facilities and Field Services requested proposals from its on-call landscape architect MIG, who provided a proposal with a fee not to exceed $60,000 to finalize the design and deliver a complete set of construction documents required to bid and construct the project.
The intent of the pilot off-leash area is to create a temporary space that is designed for safety of the animals and public while also being equipped with amenities for dogs. In addition to the social benefit of fostering a sense of community in the neighborhood, socializing dogs with other dogs also can promote acceptable behavior, decreased crime, added human health benefits, and much more.
The Facilities & Field Services Division will bid the project for construction immediately at
the conclusion of design process.
Once operational, the pilot off-leash area is intended to remain in place while the city proceeds with the design and outreach process for the comprehensive improvements that will be undertaken at Plummer Park over the next several years.