(Los Alamitos, 5/30/2013)This week’s Highlands Guy’s column is on a topic that has attracted more “contact us” emails than anything I can remember! It’s a hot topic in the Highlands, and I was wondering how H.G. would handle it. As usual, quite well.
Some time back we had the Briggeman/trash collection debacle.
We have been in the middle of the Prologis/Cypress actions for a while.
A few weeks ago there was the bizarre Kusumoto hit piece.
And now I am told, via a flyer on my doorstep, that Orville Lewis Park is under siege, by none other than your local pooch.
Like the Kusumoto hit piece, this flyer does not display the name of the group or any individuals who put it out, but I guess the lead title, ‘Preserve Our Park’ serves as their mantra.
Seems a group of Los Al residents are asking the City Council to allow dogs off leash at a really nice neighborhood park. (Disclaimer: I will attempt to be, but may not be completely free of bias on this one, as the park is up at the end of the street on which I live).
As is the case many times when a group wants to get their point across, the flyer highlights a few of the more emotion-laden points to get locals on their side. And on the surface they do a pretty good job.
They also ask the readers to contact the City Council to voice their concerns.
What I would ask all city residents to do is,
- Don’t view this as a separate neighborhood issue,
- Ferret out the facts,
- Talk about it with your neighbors,
- Develop a rational decision, and
- Then come to the next Council meeting and let your voice be heard.
- Additionally, try something that the company I work for has found successful. “Go to the spot”.
One of the factors needed in making an informed decision is to go to the physical location in question and gather data. See it. Smell it. Touch it. Know it.
I know the park from occasional use over the last 10 years or so and have thoroughly enjoyed it because its size and location seem best suited to a little Frisbee playing, a clean safe environment for little kids on the apparatus, and folks just wanting some quiet time, in nature, close to home. And of course, the annual holiday activities are always well attended by local families.
Except for where it touches the JFTB, it is surrounded, closely, by houses. So, maybe one of the questions that needs to be asked is, “Because we are such a park-poor (as in parks per number of residents) city perhaps this proposal deserves a hearing.?
A summer surprise
I stopped by Orville Lewis Park yesterday to get to get a dose of reality. It is not there during the winter months, but during the summer months, to coincide with the City’s summer program, an outhouse is installed.
Come on guys. A plastic rented (the company’s ads were all over it) outhouse prominently displayed next to ½ million dollar homes? Some rethinking is called for here. But to the park proper:
- The grass is green, but on closer inspection, is loaded with weeds, and pot/gopher holes abound.
- At some point the city spent a bunch of money on the (blacktop) basketball court. It’s not bad, but rarely used.
- There’s an aging baseball backstop, but pretty useless without a base-path or bases. Seems like it is used mostly for soccer practice. I would propose either fixing it or removing it.
- The children’s play area looks nice, but also upon a closer look is in need of some deferred maintenance to keep it safe.
- The tables and canopy are still OK, but rust can be seen in many spots, including at the base of the support columns.
- It’s nice to have those built in grilles, but rust and years of abuse have made them unusable at best, and perhaps dangerous.
A better alternative
Add to this, that within a few minutes drive from Lewis Park, is the little used 2 ½ acre Arbor Dog Park. On Los Al land, but run by Seal Beach, this space is set up just right, with fences, gates, water availability, and clean up equipment for the off-leash experience.
With this in mind, and with the knowledge that most, if not all, of the Park and Recreation budget is spoken for, I would put forth that the priority should be to bring the park up to at least the quality level at the time of its inception and for its initial intent.
Thus my conclusion is that, at this time, it just doesn’t make sense on a number of levels, for the City to operate a dog park.
“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”
-Helen Keller (1880-1968) Author, activist, lecturer. Born without the ability to see or hear.
…And that’s just the way I see it.
Dave E. again. The dog park proposal is on this Wednesday’s 7 pm Los Alamitos Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting (June 5, City Hall), along with the school district’s huge hikes in field use fees for AYSO, Friday Night Lights, & other youth sports groups. Maybe it’s time our Commission Meetings were televised as well!
As always, your perspective, diplomatically expressed, is encouraged!