Dog parks on drawing boards
This town is going to the dogs.
Port Aransas city officials and Nueces County officials are making plans to establish what could end up being two separate dog parks in town. City officials are investigating the possibility of putting a temporary dog park on acreage off Port Street. The city park, if it is built, is envisioned to be temporary, remaining in place possibly only until the county dog park is built as part of I.B. Magee Beach Park.
Grady Jones said a dog park would be a welcome relief for Max, his five-yearold yellow Labrador retriever. Max lives with Jones on a 35-foot houseboat, the Bayou Baby, at Dennis Dreyer Municipal Marina.
Simply walking a dog on a leash doesn’t provide the pooch with enough fun and exercise, even if you do it a few times a day, Jones said.
Keeping a dog on a leash “is like telling a kid they can’t go to a playground,” Jones said. “All they can do is walk around and look at it, walk along beside you.”
On Thursday, March 18, the city council voted unanimously to have staff take steps to pursue the idea of establishing an unfenced park where dogs could run, unleashed. The site being considered is the 67-acre piece of city property that lies next to the Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture. Horses also have been mentioned as possible customers of such a site.
The move was made at the behest of Mayor Claude Brown, who said he has had a number of requests for a dog park.
Brown said he doesn’t want construction of a facility with concrete, fencing and lighting, but simply an area that has been cleared of brush and designated as a dog park with markers.
Councilman Rick Pratt said it would be a good opportunity to rip out a lot of Brazilian pepper trees, an invasive species that has multiplied in Port Aransas. The city has been working for years to combat the spread of the vegetation.
Interim City Manager Dave Parsons said staff is researching how city leash laws and ordinances about horses would have to be changed to establish such a park. It’s too early to tell when a park could open or how it would be laid out, he said.
At the council meeting, Charlie Zahn made a presentation on the county’s plans for a dog park at I.B. Magee Park. Zahn is chairman of the Nueces County Board of Parks Commissioners.
Zahn said the county is planning to designate about 10 acres of land for a dog park between Cotter Avenue and the RV parking area at I.B. Magee Beach Park. Nothing lies in that area right now except a dirt road, he said.
The dog park would be fenced, with an area of about four to six acres set aside for big dogs and an enclosure of about two acres built for small dogs within the larger fenced area, Zahn said.
The park would include watering troughs, disposal sites for dog waste and rest areas with benches and shade structures.
An entrance to the dog park would branch off Cotter Avenue, and a parking lot also would be built.
The improvements have been estimated to cost about $40,000, Zahn said.
The parks board will look at an architectural rendering of the planned dog park when the panel meets at 3 p.m. today, Thursday, March 25, at the Nueces County Courthouse. If the plans meet with the board’s approval, commissioners could direct staff to put the project out for bids.
Construction could begin within the next few months and be finished before the end of the year, Zahn said.