by Kevin Allman
Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration is surveying citizens and holding meetings about the development of dog parks in New Orleans. More than 1,400 residents have responded to an online survey aimed at determining the needs of dog owners (you're welcome to do so; the survey closes Friday). This week, the city’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement is holding a series of six public meetings last week (one in each council district; two in District C) to explain the fact-gathering process and get more community input. Tonight's meetings are at 6 pm at Holy Angels Church (3500 St. Claude Ave.) and the Cut-Off Recreation Center (6600 Belgrade St.).
“The goal is to put one dog park and one dog run in each council district,” explained Vince Smith, director of capital projects, to a group of about eight people gathered at the District A meeting last night at the Robert E. Smith Library in Lakeview. Smith said the city had identified 23 unofficial dog parks across the city — 10 of which are in District A — in addition to “City Bark,” the membership-only dog park in New Orleans City Park. Dog owners pay $43 per year for a permit to use the 4.3-acre off-leash park, a fenced area with amenities that include a dog wash and a smaller fenced-in area for little dogs.
It’s not only the sites that are unknown right now — it’s the funding. “We have no dedicated funds,” Smith said. “This is a site-selection process only.” Smith explained that the city isn’t sure yet whether any dog park monies would come from the capital operating budget or from New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) funds, so there’s no timetable on building.
Those who can't make the meetings can still provide feedback to the city at firstname.lastname@example.org.