After years of dogged pursuit, the city of Burbank is finally getting a park where pups can run free.
The city recently accepted a $150,000 donation from the Kari and Dick Clark Foundation, which will go toward creating a dog park section at Johnny Carson Park.
The dog park project is estimated to cost between $500,000 and $700,000, according to a staff report submitted to the City Council for its Tuesday meeting, at which it voted to accept the donation.
Parks and Recreation Director Marisa Garcia, who presented the report to council members, said in a phone interview that her department will continue to look for funding sources, including grants and additional donations.
“We’re fortunate, especially during these economic times, that we’ve had a great sponsor who wants to come in and help us meet these goals,” she said. “Especially during this current pandemic, we know that it’s extremely important for individuals to be outdoors and recreate in a really safe manner.”
As a requirement of the grant, Kari Clark asked the city to name the dog park after her late husband, Dick, the longtime “American Bandstand” host and prolific television producer. Dick Clark Productions offices were located in Burbank for many years, according to the staff report, and the man was an “avid dog lover,” leading Kari to reach out to the city.
Johnny Carson Park is currently receiving improvements from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, which will pay the city for the value of the new trees and irrigation systems. That money, in turn, could be used for the costs of the new dog park.
Construction of the Dick Clark Dog Park is expected to begin in 2022, after the LADWP project concludes.
Council members were highly supportive of the idea to finally build a dog park, with Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy crediting her colleague, Councilman Jess Talamantes, who formerly served on the Parks and Recreations board and pushed for the project.
“I just want to thank council member Talamantes, who doggedly pursued this park,” she said during the meeting. “Ever since I’ve been on the council, he’s raised it and stayed on it and I think we’re very pleased to know that the Dick Clark foundation was able to step up and help us offset the costs for this, and that our staff also took advantage of the drill site and that we will be able to do this.”
A dog park has been intermittently considered by the city since 1997, but budgetary constraints and a limited amount of available land kept the idea from progressing much beyond being an idea. The proposal began to materialize in 2015 when, according to the staff report, the city held several public meetings to discuss the project and find a site, eventually settling on Johnny Carson Park.