The Elm Street Dog Park has a new top dog.
After months without a group in charge of its day-to-day operations, the Arroyo Grande City Council voted to approve an agreement with the newly created Elm Street Dog Park Association putting them in charge of the off-leash dog park.
"The dog park was really in jeopardy of closing, and the city doesn't have the time or money to keep it open," Mayor Pro Tem Kristen Barneich said at the council’s Tuesday night meeting. "It's a huge amount of work. I can't say thank you enough (to the association), because it's a hugely used park in the city."
The council also voted in favor of an ordinance that gives the city recreation department the ability to enforce 11 new dog park rules, which it did not previously have the ability to do.
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The park's management has been in question since late January, when the Five Cities Dog Park Association announced it would be cutting ties with the city and would no longer provide maintenance services or volunteers to oversee the dog park, amid tensions with both city staff and several dog park users.
A group of volunteers, led by South County Historical Society curator Jan Scott, went before the Arroyo Grande City Council in May, saying they would be willing to take over management of the park, which is on city property.
The group, now known as the Elm Street Dog Park Association, is operating under the umbrella of the nonprofit San Luis Obispo Parks, Open Space and Trails. The nonprofit provides insurance for the association’s operations and activities.
At the meeting, Scott said the association is in the process of organizing itself under SLOPOST and plans to hold elections for a board of directors once that affiliation is finalized.
Before parting ways with the city, the former Five Cities Dog Park Association was in the early stages of a renovation project that would replace bark in the big-dog area with artificial turf. The total cost of the project, which would have been paid by the association, was not made public.
Scott has said once the group officially takes over management of the park, it will begin looking into implementing the former association's big-dog area renovations, as well as bringing back grass in the small-dog area.
The Arroyo Grande City Council approved the following dog park rules: