New dog park opens in Long Beach, CA featuring K9Grass
The Beatles hit “Here Comes the Sun” provided an appropriate soundtrack to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the city’s first off-the-grid dog park on Sunday, Sept. 27. Vendors, organizations, residents and dogs enjoyed a romp through K-9 Corner. The park features eye- and paw-pleasing landscape, a two-tiered water fountain with a spout for humans and a refillable bowl for dogs, a main door that leads to a foyer area and two doors into the park, and synthetic grass with a filtration/drainage system so that the dog can water it without any ill effects, and a solar grid that will provide all the lighting for the park.
“This is a prototype for future parks in the city,” said Jarrod Osborne, the general manager for Solar Systems, whose company was the contractor for the lighting. “It’s the first Long Beach effort and the first off-grid park in general. The system will provide the energy to light the park 24/7, dusk plus six hours.”
The park is a grassroots community effort that began before 1st District Council Member Robert Garcia ran for election. Garcia, who was then president of the North Pine Neighborhood Alliance (NPNA), and two fellow alliance members, Cynthia Ojeda (now president) and founding member Andreas Herr, noted a neglected corner at Pacific Avenue and Ninth Street during a walk.
“We said, this would make a great dog park,” Garcia said.
K-9 Corner was conceived during one council administration and continued into another to come into beingr. Then-1st District Council Member Bonnie Lowenthal assisted NPNA in leasing the land from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. With the assistance of the Redevelopment Agency’s director, Craig Beck, the NPNA worked out a design. After much hard work, the park opened on Sunday. Garcia thanked all the stakeholders in the park, including Lowenthal, Beck and David White from the RDA Parks and Rec director Phil Hester and the entire NPNA.
“It takes a village to put together a dog park,” Lowenthal said.
The community chose the name K-9 Corner to honor the backyard garden-variety family dog and in particular the K-9 officers and their partners who take friendship to a brave, noble level. The officers were on hand to enjoy the festivities, as were organizations and offices such as Long Beach Animal Control Services (ACS), Friends of Long Beach Animals (FOLBA), the NPNA, the Long Beach Police Officers Association (LBPOA), and a number of vendors. And dogs and their owners, who were grateful to see what Garcia had referred to as a blighted area turned into a park for dogs and their families.
“I’m going to come every day,” said Santos Mendez, who lives across the street.
Several Long Beach officials and volunteers visited K-9 Corner with their dogs and families.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Assembly Member Lowenthal presented Garcia with a certificate from the state. The ribbon was cut, and the wild rumpus began. There were games and contests. Bonnie Tyes-Brown’s Chico won for his action trick of jumping into his stroller, and Araceli Valenzuela’s Reggie won the fashion show, with his stylish Bow-wowhawk.
“I love it!” said Debra Ward, a 20-year property owner whose house is near the park. “I hope that it proves to be an upgrade to the entire area.”
“We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. In return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.” — Margery Facklam, award-winning children's science author
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