Jan 11th 2024, the SVE HOA board approved the Dog Park Construction Committee (Jim Varner, Michael Beaver, Ted Boehm, Laurie Anderson, and Katie Ross).
The original straight ramp design ran into issues when the apron (sloped soil on the side of the ramp) was considered. The total width of this arrangement infringed on the City easement and a large existing tree. The updated plan places the sidewalk between the trees along the slope down to the basin. . This design allowed us to make the sidewalk 6 foot wide and extend the slope to 1:20, avoiding the cost for ADA railing. This lowers the visible profile of the ramp, and allows easier golf cart access to the basin if necessary.
February - The construction committee has adjusted the layout to accommodate mowing access, avoidance of sprinkler heads, and meet City requirements regarding easement and drainage.
March 7th - The Committee will present the Plan/Contractor recommendations during the HOA Study Session March 7th at 1:30pm. Residents are encouraged to attend the study session to provide any comments.
March 14th - Committee anticipates that the HOA Board will vote to approve plan, submit request to City of Mesa for review, and notify contractors to schedule work. once city approval is received.
April - ? Begin construction
Dog Park Questions/Concerns
1) Why the Southwest basin? This space currently has block walls on two sides and a fence on the third. Adding a fence on the remaining side would enclose the area. Placing the Dog Park in any other basin would require at least double the fencing and cost. This area is the most remote basin in the neighborhood, affects the fewest number of homes, and provides more shade than other basins. The Southwest Basin is currently used by many dog owners (many use the space twice a day) and adding the fence would make the current situation safer for everyone.
2) Non-SVE Users – The Dog Park proposal calls for securing the main gate with a mechanical keypad. If appropriate, the HOA Board may decide to install FOB access. The question here is "how much security is appropriate?". A 4 foot high wall (matching the softball fence) will only prevent honest people from accessing the park. If denied access. anyone, including folks from surrounding neighborhoods, can simply go to another SVE basin to exercise their pets. So how much of resident's money should be used for very little return?
3) Who will maintain the Dog Park? Various dog owners have been using this area for over two years and maintain the waste station maintenance at this location. The Dog Club provides waste bags at this location and typically leave the space cleaner than they found it, picking up other people's poo!. In fact, Village Rovers Club members maintain all 8 waste stations throughout the community.
4) Aren’t dog parks actually bad for dogs? A New York Times article titled “The Dog Park Is Bad, Actually” is often quoted when considering the negative aspects of a dog park.
This article is actually a great endorsement for our dog park project because it refers to large, city dog parks not a small private park like the one being proposed. On topics like responsible owners, disease transmission, aggressive behavior, etc., the big city dog park concerns certainly apply. Here is an example from the article: “Having your dog in a dog park requires trusting that everyone in the park is monitoring their dog, and is a good judge about whether their dog should be in the park in the first place. That’s a lot of trust to put in a stranger.” Very true for a large city park! Not so much for our situation. Most of the dog owners (and dogs) who visit the Southwest basin know everyone and their dogs by name. These individuals are responsible owners not strangers. Aggressive behavior by dogs is closely monitored.
5) How many dogs are in the SVE community? Without doing a survey, it’s impossible to answer this question. But here are some stats related to dog ownership. More than half of older adults (55 percent) reported having a pet. Among pet owners, the majority (68 percent) had dogs - University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation. So that’s over 37% of older adults with dogs. Maybe higher for younger folks these days. Younger, like 55!
6) Parking –Mick Borton, Softball Chair says ”We don’t have a problem with the dog park proposal in this space, providing that parking is addressed.” Our response was that we will present the parking issue in a Dog Club meeting and ask our members to park on Acanthus during Softball Season to minimize any parking problems.
7) Insurance increase? Our HOA manager has inquired with our insurance carrier about a rider for the dog Park. Here is the exchange: "Our community is looking at establishing a dedicated dog park in the community. How will this impact our insurance coverage, and are there additional considerations regarding insurance with this new amenity? It would be locked, and only accessible by residents and their guests. – "The premium impact would be minimal and would depend on the value/cost of the dog park. Make sure the rules are clearly posted!
Response: In a January 2023 Town Hall Meeting, a member who worked in the insurance industry, mentioned that your homeowner's policy provides liability coverage. Homeowner's Insurance is meant to provide financial protection in the case of unexpected events. If your dog were to bite someone who does not live in the home with you, like a friend or neighbor, the liability coverage on your homeowners insurance policy may extend coverage to help cover the medical costs if you are found legally liable. Liability coverage may also cover legal fees and court judgments from the lawsuit.
8) Dog Park Hours? To be determined
9) Security Question - I've noticed a number of animal owners use the basin on the northeast corner of Guadaloupe and Fransworth. Some tend not to pick up and allow their animals to run off leash in the basin. People being people,..... what are the plans to secure this dog park preventing general public from invading and abusing the planned dog park? -Response:This is answered in # 2 above - Jim V
Additional comments from community members:
-This community is changing with younger people moving in and many will have Dogs. I have neighbors who live on the the golf course. They have no back yard to speak of, and low walls, not ideal for letting dogs lose. Communities need to change with times and those who are not necessarily dog lovers need to realize that.
- I am not for or against a dog park. But I thought I would add one more thing to think about. I once had a dog (since passed away) and she became sick one day. When I took her to the vet, he said there was a virus going around that was being spread in dog parks.
Response: The Dog Owners who currently visit the basin are pretty responsible and pick up droppings as they happen. We also pick up any other droppings that we notice to keep the area as clean as possible. Networking among dog owners will help us stay informed about diseases that are spreading- Jim V
- According to a 2018 survey conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (N.R.P.A.), 91 percent of Americans believe dog parks provide benefits to their communities. The study found that the top two reasons responders cited for supporting dog parks were that 60 percent thought that they gave dogs a safe space to exercise and roam freely, and 48 percent felt that dog parks were important because they allowed dog owners to network and dogs to socialize.
There are plenty of common sense reasons to support a beautiful dog park in our community. If you have comments or concerns regarding the dog park please forward them to Jim Varner, Jim@CactusCreative.net
SVE Dog Park – Community Benefits
Goal - create a safe off-leash space in SVE for large and small dogs to exercise and socialize with other dogs and their owners. We believe that an SVE Dog Park will enhance the community in several ways.
1) Asset to the Dog community – The SVE dog park is a welcome benefit for existing pet owners and an asset when attracting new residents with pets. Residents will not have to leave the community to find an off-lease space for their pets.
2) In a survey by the Univ. of Michigan -More than half of older adults (55%) reported owning a pet, the majority (68%) owned dogs.
3) Exercise - Many dogs, large and small, require regular aerobic exercise which cannot be done while leashed. This activity helps eliminate pet boredom which can lead to unwanted behaviors like chewing and excessive barking.
4) Separate spaces – Residents with all sizes of dogs can safely exercise their pets. Two separate spaces will allow active and less active dogs to play and socialize together.
5) Reduce unsafe interactions - A dedicated dog park helps to reduce possible negative interactions between dogs and non-dog owners. The park provides a remote space away from walkers, bikers, and traffic. Dogs sense wary individuals and can overreact. Let’s reduce these encounters.
6) Donation Wall (similar to the pickelball entrance) - Residents can purchase a memorial to honor current or past pets. We will use this space as a fundraiser.
7 Create a Beautiful Space – Our plan is to make the dog park a visually attractive space. One idea is to include a raised flower bed in the plan.
8) Community Building – The social aspect of dog owners meeting in the park creates a network for sharing resources such as dog sitting, dog walking, and sharing recommendations.
9) Enjoyment -A variety of reports show that older adults say having a pet helps them enjoy life, reduce stress, have a sense of purpose, maintain a routine, as well as connect with other people and be physically active. Of those older adults who lived alone or were in less than ideal health, nearly 75% said the pet helped them cope with physical or emotional symptoms.
10) Pet fix – A number of people visit the dog exercise area just to spend time with the dogs and owners. Some regularly bring treats even though they do not currently own a pet!
11) Training space – Several of the dogs who visit the space have been trained to sit and stay on command. The space could be used to host basic training classes for residents. As our dog trainer says – the dogs are at the finish line, the training is basically teaching owners to catch up!