Design Committee Summary for a North Asheville Dog Park

Friends of the North Asheville Dog Park

Site-Design committee, July 2013

Design Suggestions (document numbers refer to the list of References at the end)

  • Large documents that summarize lots of information (document numbers refer to the list of References at the end)

#8: An excellent community study, worth reading as an example

  • Appendix I is their community survey, with results (pp 12-20).
  • Appendix II has recommended rules/regulations (p 21).
  • Other lists of rules/regulations: #1 pp 3-4, #4 p 45, #9 pp 6-7, #11 pp 9-10, and #18 pp 34-36.
  • Appendix IV is the survey they sent to other municpalities (pp 23-24, see p 4 for a list of the unicipalities surveyed).
  • Appendix V is their development budget (p 25).

#11: Not as detailed as #8 but summarizes a lot of information. Some budget estimates are included, in individual sections of the document.

  • #18 pp 5-6 has a table rating characteristics of dog parks in the author’s area.
  • p 10 has a list of park regulations from a survey of other communities’ experience
  • pp 20-23 has a table of standards for a wide range of features/amenities.
  • pp 21-25 has prototype park design diagrams.
  • pp 34-36 has recommended park regulations & penalties, and pp 36-37 has enforcementsuggestions (e.g.: prominently post regulations & animal-control officer contact info; enlist volunteer groups to assist).

#4 is not as useful as I hoped it would be. Lots of topics & references, but many are not immediately relevant to our project and most are handled rather uncritically.

● Community surveys of desired amenities:

#8 (p 8 and Appendix I), #14 (pp 9-19), #18 (p 13)

Most desired:

  • Separate small/large-dog areas
  • Double-gated entry
  • Poop bags & trash receptacles
  • Drinking water for dogs
  • Shade
  • Grass surface
  • Note: agility equipment was not highly desired

Common recommendations from dog park planners & planning committees

Benches (most articles mention this)

  • Tables are also frequently mentioned.

Double-gated entry (mentioned frequently)

  • Several articles also suggest a separate, wide, maintenance gate.

Fencing

  • Top & bottom rails or tension wires, for strength & to discourage digging (e.g., #11, p 6)

Grass holds up better than artificial turf, but does need irrigation & maintenance

  • E.g.: #s 2, 9, 12, 15, 18
  • #4 pp 55-62 and #9 pp 5-6 have notes on various surface options. #15 pp 6-8 suggests initial costs for various surfaces.
  • Most articles favor grass surface. #15, p 6 suggests urine-resistant grass varieties (and pp 2- 4 describes two communities’ use of decomposed granite instead).
  • #11, p 4 notes possible use of decomposed granite for the entry area.
  • #8, p 11, 3rd full paragraph: they suggest grass but with a crushed stone “treadway” for the high-traffic edges along the fence.

Poop bags, poop scoopers, trash cans (most articles mention these)

Encourage/require owners to clean up after their dogs. (Most of the references recommend “encourage.”)

  • Surveys suggest that most owners do this (e.g., #8 pp 6-7, 9 and #14 pp 15-16).
  • #14 p 16 also suggests ways to increase waste-management effectiveness.
  • Alternative waste-disposal methods: see #11, pp 11-12.

Separate small & large dog sections (frequently mentioned)

Entry area(s) not located in a corner (see #11, p 4)

  • Separate the sections to discourage “fence running?” (e.g.: #11, p 6)
  • #10 suggests separate long “play runs” for frisbee, ball-throwing, etc.
  • Shade &/or shelter (see especially #s 2, 12, 18, 19)

 

Signs with dogpark and city-park rules (e.g.: #s 8, 9, 11, 17, 18)

 

Volunteer association activities

  • Clean-up schedule &/or clean-up days/sessions (e.g.: #s 2, 15, 18)
  • Fundraising & community outreach (e.g.: #s 8, 9, 15)
  • #8, pp 5-6, has a number of community-suggested fund-raising ideas
  • Public planning meetings (#18 suggests having meetings at various stages of development)
  • Enforcing rules (e.g.: #s 2, 9, 11, 14, 15, 18)

Public education (several mention this)

  • Also see the “Issues” section on Rules & Regulations, below.
  • Regular review of success/issues (see “Dog Park Clubs,” #9, p 7 )

Water for dogs & people (almost all mention this; #18 (pp 27-30) has water-site & drain diagrams

  • Capture runoff to drain or drywell (#18, see pp 6, 30)
  • Hose & electrical connections for cleanup (#s 2, 17, 18)

Possible Issues

Child safety (e.g.: #s 8, 9, 19)

  • Some of the rules/regulations lists include restricting young children.

Dog safety

  • Dogpark etiquette (e.g., #s 3, 6, 7)
  • Dominance, dog-on-dog aggression (#s 5, 8 [pp 6-7], 9, 17, 18, 19, and some of the “related posts” in #7)
  • Restrict young dogs, females in heat or require spay/neuter (several mention this; e.g., #17, Rule #5, p 4)
  • Types of dog collars allowed (see #17, Rule #6, p 5)
  • Park location with respect to traffic, topography (e.g.: #s 18, 19)
  • Potentially dangerous plants (#19)

Education for park users (several mention this)

  • Also see “Rules & restrictions,” below.

Existing trees & growth: removal, damage (e.g.: #s 16, 18)


Liability: two different views

  • #8: Users assume liability (see the top of p 11, and Regulation #20 in Appendix II, p 21)
  • #9: Local government assumes liability (see p 3).

Maintenance: e.g., turf care, empty trash cans, restock poop bags & park literature

  • #9(seep5)
  • #15 (worth noting: p 2 for Tuscon’s comment start-up vs maintenance costs)
  • #16 (note: 2001 cost estimate)
  • #18 (worth noting: survey of other communities indicated that replacing poop bags is the largest maintenance cost)

Noise (e.g.: #s 9, 16, 17)

Number of dogs per owner or handler (several suggest restricting this to 3)

Rules & restrictions

Dog health: vaccines, known illnesses/infections. Spay/neuter required? (e.g.: #s 17, 18)

  • Issue: How would this be monitored? (Suggestions included proof of vaccinations etc required for membership, and/or volunteers on site.)
  • See #8 p 9, findings from the community survey (3rd bullet in “other important findings”), and details in Appendix I

Fees to control use (mentioned by several)

  • Community survey responses to questions about usage fees: #8 p 9, #14 pp 16-17.
  • Electronic gate access? E.g., #11 pp 12-13.

Rules clearly posted (mentioned frequently)

  • Enforcement? See #14 p 5 and especially #18 pp 36-37.

Public education, especially for potential park users

  • Our website could include links to #s 1, 3, & 6.
  • We might want to summarize some of this information in a brochure available at the park.

Soil/water contamination (e.g.: #s 2, 16, 17, 18, 19)

  • Research indicates no major or consistent contamination: See #s 20-23.
  • Floodway issues (e.g.: #s 16, 17)
  • Mitigation approaches
  • Drainage (e.g.: #s 16, 17, 18)
  • Periodic soil testing (e.g., #2)
  • Separation from easily-eroded areas (e.g., #18)

Traffic & parking (e.g., #s 16, 18)

  • Also see “Wheelchair/ADA accessibility,” below.

Turf maintenance

  • "Rest” to re-establish turf (e.g., #s 2, 16) or rotate multiple enclosed sites (#s 12, 15, 18)

Wheelchair/ADA-accessibility (e.g.: #s 2, 8, 11, 15, 18)

  • Entry gate, parking area, path from parking area, waste-disposal facilities (see #11, pp 14-16).

References

Dog park design standards & issues

  1. Bangor Dog Park User’s Guide (from City of Bangor ME, Parks & Recreations: http://www.bangorparksandrec.com/forms/5613_bdp_users_guide_f2.pdf)
  2. Designing Dog Parks (http://parksandrecbusiness.com/archives/designing-dog-parks/)
  3. Dog Parks: Benefits and Liabilities (U. of Pennsylvania Dept of Earth & Environmental Science Master's-thesis project, http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&context=mes_capstones [a pdf file])
  4. Dog Parks, Dog Runs, and Off-Leash Play (http://www.dogplay.com/Activities/dogpark.html)
  5. Dog Park Etiquette (http://www.seizetheleash.com/files/dogparketiquette.cfm)
  6. Dog Park Etiquette: Rules to Help Dogs Get Along (http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/dog-park-etiquette-rules)
  7. Dog Park Feasability Study (from Lynchburg VA, off-leash dog park steering committee; http://www.lynchburgdogpark.com/Documents/DogParkFeasabilityStudy.pdf)
  8. Dog Park Management Guidelines (a study of 17 off-leash parks, from U of California, Davis; School of Veterinary Medicine: http://www.vmth.ucdavis.edu/home/beh/Dog_Park/Dog_Park_Management_Guidel...)
  9. 10. Dog Park Pros and Cons (from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, http://www.apdt.com/petowners/park/pros_cons.aspx)
  10. Evolving Dog-Park Design Standards (from a landscape architect serving as Parks & Trails planner for Douglas County CO [Denver area]; http://www.northstarpubs.com/articles/lab/evolving-dog- park-design-standards-2)
  11. Pet Peeves and Issues at Arizona Dog Parks (from About.com Phoenix article "Dog Parks: Off Leash Opportunities;" http://phoenix.about.com/u/ua/readerscomment/Dog-Park-Pet-Peeves-Problems.htm)
  12. Rules and Regulations for Dog Parks & Off-Leash Areas (draft, from Baltimore MD, Dept of Recreation & Parks; http://www.minneapolisparks.org/documents/design/dog_park/04.11.2011_Cri...)
  13. Salt Lake County Off-Leash Dog Park Master Plan (http://www.recreation.slco.org/planning/PDFdocs/dogPkMPlan0608.pdf)
  14. Wikipedia article: Dog Parks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_park
  15. Do Pet Recreation Areas Affect Water Quality? (http://ag.arizona.edu/region9wq/pdf/factsht_SWWQ002.pdf; by the faculty advisor for #22)
  16. Effect of a Dog Park on Water Quality in an Adjacent River (Central Connecticut State U, Dept of Ecology & Environmental Science, Master's thesis project, http://content.library.ccsu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/ccsutheses/id/...)
  17. Fecal Contamination of Water from a Dog Park and Water Potential Changes Affecting Bacterial Survival (U of Nevada, Reno, Dept of Environmental Sciences & Health, Master's thesis project, http://books.google.com/books?id=rbNhuhims5YC&printsec=frontcover&source... y_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false; summary from Sacramento Dog Owners Group: http://sacdog.org/efforts/Water.htm)