Urban-dwelling dogs need room to run. That’s why midtown Sacramento residents, politicians and organizations are encouraging the city to build the grid’s first dog park, repurposing an empty lot and former industrial site at 19th and Q streets.
Supporters are enthusiastic, saying the park is a much-needed addition to an up-and-coming neighborhood. But the project faces several logistical and financial hurdles.
The site was contaminated by industrial waste, and the city received a grant to rehabilitate it, planning a plaza-style park for the cleaned-up site, similar to nearby Fremont Park. But, acknowledging that existing dog parks are in the suburbs, inconvenient for city dwellers, nearby residents had another idea: Why not use the small, oddly shaped space at 19th and Q for a dog park instead?
They approached City Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents the neighborhood, and he reached out to local midtown-based architecture firm Quadriga Landscape Architecture and Planning. Donating their work, architects there designed a preliminary model. It includes dog play zones, a pavilion for human socializing and lots of shade.
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Plenty remains to be done, according to Gary Hyden, a supervising landscape architect for the city. Residents and officials will collaborate on a final design, and the city’s master parks plan must be amended. Planners will estimate cost and funding must be secured, then builders can begin construction.
The project’s biggest hurdle might be financing, but advocates say they will find money for it.
“We’ll see how we fund it,” Hansen said. “Between some of the new projects nearby, or the new 19th and Q project, there’s going to be some funding to be able to do it.”
Supporters say they expect the project to be relatively inexpensive, on par with the original plaza proposal.
Several projects – the Crystal Ice Blocks building’s renovation and new residential units planned by developer Sotiris Kolokotronis, as well as other buildings along the R Street corridor – could help provide needed funding through park-improvement fees required of developers. Other income comes from developers’ Quimby Act contributions, which can take the form of money or land.
The Capital Area Development Authority might also assist financially, said Wendy Saunders, the authority’s executive director. And grant money earmarked for formerly contaminated sites will help get a community garden started later this summer.
The project doesn’t have a firm schedule, but advocates say the time is right: midtown is an increasingly popular residential community, and residents want a social space. And the very same buildings and other projects that are fueling the area’s growth can play a role in funding the dog park.
Hansen said he is eager to start. “It’s a huge amenity for the central city,” he said. “My goal is to get this built ASAP.”