Addressing Safety Concerns and Making Improvements to the Kingston Point Dog Park
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We the undersigned, who are users of the Kingston Point Dog Park (hereafter “the Dog Park”), appreciate the efforts of the City of Kingston (hereafter “the City”) and those involved in creating the Dog Park and are committed to working with them toward our common goals of insuring that the Dog Park be used safely and to its fullest potential. Accordingly, we hereby notify and petition the City - specifically the Mayor, the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, and the Ward 8 Alderman – with regard to the specific safety issues and suggested improvements to the Dog Park referenced below:
- Tree Stump Removal
- Small Tree Removal and Planting of Adult Trees
- Trench Leveled
- Holes Filled
- Lighting Installed
- Water Fountain Installed
- Better Signage and Communication
I. The Tree Stumps in the Large Dog Park: The City previously cut down three sick trees, but left their stumps. The stumps serve no purpose and offer no benefit (no one sits on the stumps as two of the three stumps are below sitting height and dogs pee on them daily), while they pose a danger to dogs running and playing in the park. This danger is not hypothetical; dogs have run into the stumps and been injured. We respectfully request the City remove the stumps with all due speed before another dog is injured.
II. The Small Trees in the Large Dog Park/Planting of Adult Trees: The City planted two small trees in an attempt to provide shade in place of that given by the three trees that were cut down (referenced above). While its efforts are appreciated, the reality is that the two trees suffer from two significant defects - size and location. First, these trees are saplings. As saplings it will be many years (perhaps 20) before they'll be providing any useful shade and they are vulnerable to the damage done by dogs peeing on them daily which negatively impacts their health and growth. Second, the location of the two trees in the middle of the park poses a danger to dogs running into them and being injured (as happened recently) and subjects the trees to dogs peeing on them daily as referenced above. We respectfully request that the City remove the two saplings as soon as possible to avoid further injury to dogs in the park. We further request the City plant two or three adult trees along the outside of the dog park fence (on the side closest to third base/left field side of the softball field) such that the leaves will provide shade to dogs in the park while not posing a danger to dogs running and playing. This solution offers all of the benefits with none of the risks of planting trees in the Dog Park.
III. Filling in the Trench in the Large Dog Park: The trench that runs across the large dog park significantly dips in places such that it has been the cause of numerous dog injuries; some very serious and requiring surgery. We respectfully request that the City add fill to flatten out the trench with all due speed to avoid further injury to dogs in the Dog Park. We have examined the trench after heavy rains and have never witnessed water sitting or running, thus we don't believe it serves a drainage function. If the city engineer, however, determines that filling the trench might cause drainage issues, installing culvert pipe is a simple remedy.
IV. Filling Holes in the Dog Park: The Dog Park is littered with holes. Dogs dig holes. It's natural, foreseeable and there is nothing we can do to stop them. But people and dogs are falling in the holes and getting hurt on a regular basis. What we can and must do as users of the Dog Park, however, is to be more responsive to filling those holes so as to prevent and minimize such injuries. The City has provided fill, for which we are grateful. In order to fill the holes efficiently, however, we need a wheel barrow. We respectfully request the City provide a wheelbarrow in or near the Dog Park for this purpose. In the alternative, we request the City have its Park and Recreation Department employees fill the holes when they remove the canine waste.
V. Lighting is a Necessity: The undisputed reality is that for five (5) months out of the year - from mid-October to mid-March - the Dog Park can’t legally or safely be used by the vast majority of people during the work week because it is dark during their non-working hours (and thus the Dog Park use is prohibited). Think of how significant that is for dogs that are home all day while their humans are at work, deprived of exercise and socialization for a large part of the year. The solution is obvious - install dusk to dawn lighting that is on a timer such that the Dog Park is lit in the morning from 6am until it is dawn/light out and then lit again in the evening from dusk until 8:30pm. Such lighting will make a real difference in people's ability to use and enjoy the park and in the lives of their dogs. Kingston's softball fields (which are only used for a few months out of the year in contrast to the Dog Park which is used all year round) have lights. Many of Kingston’s tennis courts have lights. For Kingston residents to make full and safe use of the Dog Park it needs to have lights. We respectfully request that the City provide lighting so the Dog Park can be more fully and safely used and enjoyed by the residents of Kingston (running electric from the softball outfield lights or going with solar lighting are both options to be considered). With regard to lighting there is one other point worth noting – Dog Park users can easily bring their own water to the Dog Park (people can fill up at home or at the Park bathroom or buy water). What people can't do is bring their own lighting. As far as priorities to Dog Park users, lighting is far above running a water line up to the Dog Park.
VI. Access to Water: While running water up to the dog park is not a priority, given the bathrooms by the parking lot, it would be convenient and make sense to have access to water at or by the bathrooms. The importance of water and hydration to dogs and people is clear. However, the bathrooms are usually locked all Winter and after 5pm and on weekends the rest of the year. We respectfully request that rather than run a water line up to the Dog Park, the City install an outside water faucet or drinking fountain by the bathrooms that is freeze proof/resistant. It is a far less expensive and simpler solution that running a water line up to the Dog Park.
VII. Other Dog Park Issues/Signage: It is unclear from the posted signs at the Dog Park who and where to call in the event of issues at the Park (ex. an aggressive dog or human is present and the person won’t leave upon request). Further, we had heard that the UCSPCA is no longer providing an animal control officer for Kingston. Accordingly, we request better signage including who and where to call be posted.
The City of Kingston is charged with insuring that its parks are maintained and can be safely used. It's also responsible for the health, safety, and well-being of Kingston residents and their pets. In order to fulfill its mission, the City has a responsibility to cure unsafe conditions such as the tree stumps, saplings, trench and holes. We raise these matters to your attention and appreciate your consideration of our petitioned changes and improvements. We look forward to working together to improve Kingston for all.
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