Paso Robles dog park is closer to reality

Dog enthusiasts helped persuade the Paso Robles City Council on Tuesday to support a space for their off-leash friends.

The council voted unanimously to reserve land at Larry Moore Park on Paso Robles’ eastside for Riverbank Dog Park. If approved after more studies are done, it would be the first designated dog park in Paso Robles — a town that currently doesn’t allow dogs in its city parks.

The San Luis Obispo Parks, Open Space & Trails Foundation hopes to make the Paso Robles park its ninth dog park in the county. It’s modeled after the Vineyard Dog Park in Templeton, which attracts Paso Robles residents.

“Number one, this is going to save gas for a number of people who drive to Vineyard Dog Park,” Parks-4-Pups Vice President Larry Miller said, noting that a dog park would boost tourism and promote dog socialization.

Parks-4-Pups is a project committee through the foundation.

In March, the council voted to move forward its request to search for potential lease sites.

Now, the nonprofit Parks-4-Pups is able to start fundraising for the estimated $35,000 endeavor and contract for the necessary environmental and design studies, Miller said.

He hopes the documents are complete in about three months, he said, so the group can go through the city’s formal approval hearings, starting with the Planning Commission.The proposal consists of a roughly 1-acre off-leash area to be constructed and maintained by volunteers.

If approved, the foundation will lease the park from the city for an annual fee of $1, according to city documents.

Parks-4-Pups plans to pay for all costs associated with the park, ensuring that it is operated at no expense to taxpayers. The fenced park, now a field, would feature wood chip ground cover, picnic benches and trees.

On Tuesday, about a dozen people spoke in support of the park, saying volunteers would work to keep it clean and community-friendly.

However, the proposal met with opposition from two homeowners near the proposed site, located between the Salinas River and Riverbank Lane on the city’s southeast side.Home value, noise and liability were among their chief concerns with having the dog park there, they said.

Parks-4-Pups is in its third year of maintaining the Centennial Park Walking Trail in Paso Robles, which the group helped open to dog walkers. Its volunteers pick up litter, restock the Mutt Mitt dispensers and report trail hazards.