Phoenix forms committee to scout dog park location

[Source: Connor Radnovich,]

Photo by Michael Arellano

A new committee will soon be looking into a location for a dog park in Phoenix.

At a Phoenix Board of Adjustment meeting in early November, much of the community supported turning an empty lot near ASU’s Downtown campus into a dog park instead of a parking lot. Because of this response, the city created a committee to explore this issue.

The Ad Hoc Downtown Dog Park Citizens Committee will have its first public meeting Dec. 14 to discuss the placement of a new dog park in the downtown Phoenix area.

City staff have reviewed several sites and will be presenting the potential locations to the committee at the meeting.

“It’s hard to say what the committee will decide,” said Erin Mullarkey, secretary for Parks Development and Planning.

To make any decision, 75 percent of the committee must agree on one location for the park.

So far, only 10 people have confirmed they will be on the committee out of the 70 to 80 people Mayor of Phoenix Phil Gordon nominated.

Those nominated to the committee include ASU students living on the Downtown campus.

Mullarkey said at least half of the nominated people must be on the committee for it to become active.

Gordon will give the committee until Jan. 31 to provide a recommendation to the city. After that date, the committee will be automatically disbanded.  However, the mayor can grant the committee more time.

If the committee does not reach a decision, it is unclear what will happen to the plans for a dog park.

“It may be something staff looks at further down the road,” Mullarkey said.

Many of the community members who attended the Phoenix Board of Adjustment appeal hearing on Nov. 4 hoped the city would build a dog park on a 2-acre empty lot near the Downtown campus.  An abandoned Ramada Inn that previously occupied the lot was torn down earlier this semester.

The appeal was shot down 3-1.

Community activist Sean Sweat has worked toward getting a dog park put in that space to serve nearby dog owners.

“It seemed clear the board wasn’t interested in hearing the facts,” Sweat said.

Community members are working on an appeal to the board’s decision, which will heard by the Maricopa County Superior Court. Sweat is confident they will be successful at the higher level.

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