By DAVID SCHOLZ
MARTINEZ, Calif. – Six weeks is the timetable for the opening of a long-sought after dog park in Martinez – albeit a temporary home – after the Martinez City Council’s recent unanimous approval to locate the facility near the John Muir Amphitheater.
The temporary facility will be situated there for up to three years during which time City Engineer Tim Tucker and local dog enthusiasts will search for a permanent home for the park.
“The park works well for now. However, we want to look at other possibilities for the long-term. This was a good way for a short-term three-year fix,’’ said Martinez Dog Park Group members.
“We understand there are some difficulties in the Marina Park area with fitting in all the recreation uses that all Martinez citizens want. However, we do not want to displace any other activity because we think there is room for all.’’
The group cited many positive features to this short term solution, including the presence of mature trees, the site not being prone to flooding, and recognizing it is an under utilized space with existing city water and restrooms.
Funding of $50,000 is now earmarked to do both permanent improvements to the amphitheater and the necessary work for the temporary dog park.
Tucker noted that work includes paving, water line work, fencing and gate installation, and signage for the park prior to its official opening.
“[At the same time] we will work with the dog enthusiasts to aggressively locate a permanent site over the next year to 18 months and establish a clear scope of work for a permanent home for the dog park,” Tucker said.
Citing grants that the City of Oakland received for its dog park interests, Tucker said Martinez would pursue like funding for its permanent facility after a site is secured.
A condition for the dog park being positioned at the amphitheater calls for it to be closed during events and for any set up or clean-up period needed. Any fencing that conflicts with amphitheater use will be removable or there will be gates installed.
The amphitheater is currently booked for nine events this summer. Staff indicated the dog park would be closed during those events, and that notice of closure dates would be posted.
The idea for the dog park being located near the amphitheater gained momentum in January after the State Lands Commission staff issued a clear condemnation of other proposed sites, berther’s and Yacht Club lots, saying: “Fencing and limiting use of trust land to special interest local groups (such as a dog park) is not in the spirit of the Public Trust Doctrine.’’
State Land’s staff indicated they have never allowed a fenced dog park on trust land grant property.
Positive sentiment was expressed at a well-attended gathering Jan. 28 at the amphitheater where attendees noted how well the site drains, the presence of perimeter fencing, shade trees, benches, adequate surfacing, adequate space, and nearby parking.
Need for restrooms was also discussed. But this was deemed a low priority due to the limited duration dog park users would be at the site and the proximity of other restrooms, according to a City staff document.