City barks up the right trees

City council approves using Prop. 68 funds to build a community dog park at Riverway Sports Park

VISALIA – After more than a year of barking public health orders and mad dogging cities over COVID restrictions, the state has finally given the city of Visalia something to wag its tail about.

At its June 7 meeting, the Visalia City Council unanimously approved building a new dog park with state funding which won’t require a local match. The dog park will be located along the northside of Riverway Drive near the corner of Dinuba Boulevard.

All of the funding to build the park will come from Prop. 68, the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access of All Act of 2018. Eligible uses for the funding include park rehabilitation, new parks and park improvements or additions. Visalia was among 69 cities to receive $177,952 from the fund, which included every incorporated city in Tulare County. The city will not be required to provide 20% matching local funds because Riverway Sports Park serves a severely disadvantaged community, where the median household income is less than 60% of the statewide average. Future maintenance costs would be budgeted in the Parks Maintenance Division operational budget.

According to the staff report, the dog park project was chosen because it fit within the budget of the funding and because Visalia only has two dog parks, which area already heavily used, for a city of its size.

The city’s other dog parks are also located next to parks, including the Cody Kelly Bark Park at on Airport Drive in Plaza Park and the Seven Oaks Bark Park on Tulare Avenue behind Seven Oaks Park.

The site at Riverway Sports Park was selected by the Parks and Recreation Commission on May 11 for its access to restrooms, ADA parking lots, water for irrigation, the St. John’s Trailhead and due to the residential growth in the area.

“The proposed location would place the dog park north of Riverway Drive and would tie Riverway Sports Park, the proposed community dog park, and St. John’s Trail into a larger recreational area when the roadway is removed soon,” the report stated.

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