Community Board 15 decided on Monday night to table the a proposal to move the Manhattan Beach dog run, saying that the plan is still to vague for them to take a stance on.
Councilman Nelson’s chief of operations, Chaim Deutsch, brought the issue before the Board after working with the Manhattan Beach Community Group, which wants to relocate the dog run to a less visible area, and put a beautification garden in its place. Although $500,000 has already been allocated to the project, Deutsch and the Parks Department wanted to ensure the proposal has broad community support before going forward, but many residents who spoke at the meeting said they were against the plan. [Corrected]
Deutsch explained that when the dog run was fenced in approximately 15 years ago, it lacked proper drainage or any of the other amenities city dog runs have. Because of that, and inconsiderate patrons, members of the community have complained to the councilman’s office that it was unclean and often muddy.
Others who spoke in support of the proposal – largely members of the Manhattan Beach Community Group – said that users of it often came at unacceptable hours and left trash and dog feces in the park.
The councilman’s proposal is to move the dog run to a smaller location, redesign it with proper amenities – including drainage, lighting and pebbles – and turn the current location into a beatification site. The smaller location would be further subdivided to make separate pens for big and small dogs. The councilman has already allocated $500,000 for the project, but Deutsch told Sheepshead Bites that amount would only cover construction of a new dog park, not the establishment of a beautification garden.
However, many Manhattan Beach residents and dog owners spoke against the plan, airing their skepticism that the city would ever complete the job and that they’d be left without a dog run (Deutsch said he had received the Parks Department’s word that the existing run would not be eliminated until a new one was completed).
They also said that many of the problems are overblown, that users are courteous and most pick up their remains, and that there is no odor. They also took issue with shrinking the size of the park, as owners of larger dogs need the space for their canines to get exercise. Still, others, said that the money allocated should simply be used for maintenance of the dog run, for which the community has been told there is no funding, and that a “Friends of”-style group could be formed.
Members of the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association also took issue with the proposal, noting that funding had been allocated by the councilman to repair the community’s basketball courts five years ago, but that they “haven’t seen a penny” put to use.
“Believing we’re going to get this money is like believing in fairy tales,” said Al Smaldone, reading a statement from MBNA President Alan Ditchek.
They also pointed out that 75 percent of the current dog run is in the shade, making it a poor choice for a beautification site.
The Board voted overwhelmingly to table the proposal until the Parks Department or councilman could provide written plans about the proposed location, amenities, costs and design for them to better judge the project.
After the meeting, Deutsch said, “I’m happy that it was tabled because if people voted and it was politically motivated it be very immature and immoral.”
CORRECTION (9/28/2012): A statement in the second paragraph of this article has been corrected. It previously indicated that Deutsch brought the issue before the Board at the request of the Manhattan Beach Community Group. Ira Zalcman, president of the group, sent the following note to us:
The mbcg never asked Nelson or Deutsh to make a dog run presentation to Cb 15. It was Theresa Scavo who asked for the presentation. Also the mbcg never asked for this funding of one half million dollars. The space for a new dog run was chosen by Ron Biondo when he was President of mbcg and his chair of his quality of life comm Al Smaldone … Mbcg stands by biondo and Smaldone that the dog run should be moved.
While we have made the correction regarding the request for the presentation, we would like to add that we have never stated that MBCG asked for the funding – only that the project be done.