City’s Pet Project: Seeking Potential Dog Park Site

First published in the Oct. 30 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

More Glendale residents may get the treat of a dog park within city limits, now that the City Council this week has given the go-ahead for the Community Services and Parks Department to consider where to install such an amenity.
Officials will investigate a variety of possible locations, though council members’ preference for the moment seems to be South Glendale, which is the most densely populated part of the city and is far away from the county-managed Crescenta Valley Dog Park. That space is located within city limits in the Crescenta Highlands neighborhood.
Using part of Pelanconi Park for the new canine play area emerged as a popular option during Tuesday’s discussion.
“With a lot of the population in South Glendale, we really should have something,” Councilman Dan Brotman said.
City staffers will further examine the possibility of repurposing Camino San Rafael, a large undeveloped community space on the east side of town; a picnic area on the north side of Brand Park, which is frequented by hikers and parkgoers; and a city- owned parking lot near the Elks Lodge and the California National Guard building on Colorado Street, per Councilman Ardy Kassakhian’s request. At the request of Mayor Paula Devine, the city also will explore whether Glendale Community College would be willing to have a space for dogs in a park planned for the school’s future Garfield Campus.
Kassakhian initially asked the city to look into the possibility of developing a dog park earlier this year.
“I am not a pet owner, despite my son’s best efforts,” he said Tuesday. “We do not own a dog — or a cat or anything; we don’t even own a goldfish — but I have visited and walked by the dog park in Los Angeles just outside of Glendale’s borders over by the zoo. I’ve walked past the dog park in Silver Lake around the reservoir, which is very popular. We have one in North Glendale. I know how important and popular it is for pet owners as an amenity.”
Glendale dog owners likely use the L.A. dog park, which is part of Griffith Park, but Brotman observed that, with loose dirt and immediate proximity to the 5 Freeway, it falls short of the expectations he would have for a Glendale-owned park.
“It’s really not a quality dog park,” Brotman added, highlighting the new Eagle Rock park as a better example.
Kassakhian noted that conversations he has had with developers and newer city residents indicate that pet-friendly areas have become especially popular for people living in higher-density neighborhoods. The coronavirus pandemic has magnified that preference, he added, with more people staying at home during days and adopting dogs for companionship. This motivated his interest in a location more central to downtown.
“I think it’s in a part of the city that probably is more ‘park poor’ and where residents are living in denser areas and may not have the ease of access to take their dog to a park,” he said.
The city-owned lot is across the street from Central Park, which is currently being redeveloped into the Armenian American Museum.
Meanwhile, Kassakhian, who lives in the Pelanconi neighborhood, offered endorsement of his neighborhood park as well. That triangular park bordered by streets leading to San Fernando Road and Glenoaks Boulevard features a baseball diamond on the north end and grassy picnic areas with a playground to the south. The councilman contended that the proximity to traffic minimizes use of the southern portion, the narrowest part of the park.
“The fact that that park ends at that odd angle, none of that area is used,” he said. “What it does have on either side is a lot of traffic, traffic zipping up and down to get to San Fernando or to Glenoaks. Having it fenced off and used as a dog park would probably be a better use, because then you still have the area above, between the kids’ playground leading up to the field, which is an adequate space with some pretty mature trees with a lot of shade.”
Onnig Bulanikian, the director of community services and parks, also seemed to prefer Pelanconi Park as a shovel-ready option.
“It’s leveled and easily accessible,” he said during a presentation. “It has existing utilities and infrastructure, and the site is bordered by commercial on the north and west and residential on the east.”
The council voted unanimously to direct Bulanikian to look further into the sites that were discussed and prepare full proposals for future consideration.
“All the dogs will be happy — and the dog owners,” Devine said.