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Doggone it! Asking canines’ companions to keep paying for an off-leash park is one stupid dog trick.
Kyle Green | The Roanoke Times March 16, 2011 Matt Parenti gets a kiss from his 1 1/2 year old American Pit Bull, Chaos, at the Highland Dog Park in Roanoke, Virginia."I love coming here, but when it rains it gets so muddy. We just bring a bunch of towels and clean Chaos off before he gets in the car", said Matt about the condition of the grass at the park. Last year Roanoke officials closed the dog park in Highland Park for two to three months while they laid new sod and tried to give it time to take root. A year later, the sod has been trampled to dust again. This time, however, thereÕs no money to replace it, so the city will use mulch to try and keep the mud at bay. The park is so heavily used that city officials are scouting for another dog park site - Thrasher Park has been mentioned - and more importantly a group with which to partner to raise money for it.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Parents love their children, and children love playgrounds. But that doesn’t mean parents would be willing to drop money in a turnstile so that their little ones had a place to swing and slide in a public park.
Any city councilman who would suggest such a thing would be laughed of the dais.
And yet for some on Roanoke City Council, such a pay-to-play scheme seems OK when it comes to people’s four-legged friends taking a romp in the park.
The idea to prey upon the fondness that canine caretakers have for their charges arose Monday during a briefing on plans to improve some of the city’s parks. Roanoke’s Parks and Recreation Department finally has some real money to spend, $1.5 million this year, to catch up on the long list of neglected projects at the city’s many parks, playgrounds, ball fields, courts, pools and community centers.
As Steve Buschor, director of parks and rec, briefed council on the selected projects, he was stopped by Councilman Bill Bestpitch when he came to the smallest budget item: $121,000 for Highland Park.
Most of that will be spent to rehabilitate the deteriorated road, with the balance going to improve the city’s sole spot of public land where dogs can run freely. The off-leash park was constructed after dog owners raised the money in 2008, when it seemed unlikely that Roanoke would ever have the funds to build the much-requested park.
Bestpitch asked whether the group was helping to maintain it, and Mayor David Bowers joked they could throw the city a bone. Ha. Ha.
And perhaps council next should consider putting meters on the new $500,000 ball field light poles for Rivers Edge or quarter slots to enter the $300,000 worth of new and updated rest rooms for a number of city parks. Wouldn’t people who want such amenities agree to pay for them?
Why, yes, they would and already do — with their taxes.
The city’s parks and rec is set up to offer programs and facilities for a diverse population of young and old, from those who push their bodies beyond the limits to those enjoying an evening stroll. If council pursues a path of requesting users of one park to raise funds to improve and maintain it, the city might as well put toll gates on the greenway.
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