Spring Valley dog owners who want to take their dogs to the park have to go outside the community.
The Spring Valley Citizens Association hopes to change that.
Steven Relyea, president of the association, is heading an effort to establish a dog park within Lamar County Park.
“I have a dog and I love dog parks,” Relyea said. “I want one in Spring Valley.”
Relyea hopes to devote a few acres of the land past the bridge in Lamar Park to a dog park that would be divided into two sections for small dogs and large dogs. A third area of the park could have equipment for basic dog training, he added.
A dog park would attract more residents and discourage transients, Relyea said.
“It’s a very nice park, but right now, it’s mostly not utilized,” Relyea, said. “Part of the thought process is that if we get people with dogs using the back park, the front part will fill in more and there will be more people going in.”
In addition to the board members of the Spring Valley Citizens Association, Relyea said there are a number of dog park supporters, including the Spring Valley Youth & Family Coalition and the Spring Valley Community Planning Group, which advises the San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use, the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors on matters of planning and land use affecting Spring Valley south of Highway 94.
In fact, the county organized a community meeting at Lamar Park during the summer to discuss a potential dog park and to receive input from residents. About 30 people attended the meeting, Relyea said.
Scott Montgomery, chairman of the Spring Valley Community Planning Group, said a dog park is one of the most requested amenities for the park.
“The good news about Lamar Park is we have a lot of land there that has not been developed yet, so there’s a lot of space for not only a dog park, but other amenities as well,” Montgomery said. “It’s already being used as a dog park, informally. A lot of people go there and walk their dogs. There’s plenty of space for it.”
Montgomery said a dog park would be another great addition to Lamar Park, which he said has been vastly improved since he saw that the park was in a “deplorable condition” last winter. Since then, the lawn has been maintained, a new fence was installed, new boulders were added and trash is being picked up, he said.
“When the dog park is complete, it will be a really good enhancement for the community,” Montgomery said. “I’m happy to see San Diego County pursuing this.”
Although the county is behind the dog park, there are still some obstacles to overcome.
Relyea said there are floodplain restrictions that could prevent building on the land. Reevaluating the area would stall the plan by at least a year, he added.
Relyea said breakaway fencing could be a solution, but it would require additional funds. Relyea said funds also have to be raised to add electricity and water to the park, and to install a training facility for dogs.
“No one has actually given me a number,” Relyea said. “I don’t know how much this is going to cost.”
Relyea encouraged people to help the cause by expressing their interest in the park. He plans to set up an online petition for a dog park and needs signatures, he added.
“There’s a push for more parks in Spring Valley, but I feel it’s important that we utilize all of our existing parks in Spring Valley,” Relyea said. “It’s cheaper than opening another park, and I think it encourages a sense of neighborhood.
“I think that having a county renowned dog park in Spring Valley is one of the most important things that we can do with the amount of resources that we have.”