DEAR WEHO: Hart Park isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

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Greetings!

It has come to the attention of the people who regularly use and enjoy the Hart Dog Park in West Hollywood that there are plans in the works to radically change our beloved park.  This is of great concern to us, as we feel that this park works just great exactly the way it is.  It’s a wonderful mix of people and pooches; it’s beautiful, shady, and well-maintained.  It’s a marvelous resource, and we’re all so lucky and grateful to have it.  Many of us enjoy it daily, and it’s an important and joyful part of our lives.

The item of greatest concern to us is the plan to replace the lovely wood chip surface with an artificial surface.  In addition to being far less attractive and natural-looking, a surface like that presents many problems.  It’s hot, smelly, slippery when wet, and requires expensive daily maintenance, which also wastes water.  The wood chips, on the other hand, merely have to be swapped out every few months or so.  When dogs make messes on the artificial surface that aren’t easy to pick up, the owners just cover the mess with a bag and hold it down with a rock, to wait there until the next morning when the maintenance crew will deal with it.  If you go to the other West Hollywood Dog Park near the end of the day, if you can stomach the odor, you’ll almost always see at least a few such bags to step over.

There is also, apparently, a plan to split the play area up into separate sections for large and small dogs.  This would fall under the category of fixing a problem that doesn’t exist.  The small dogs and big dogs get along great at the park.  But the play area is already fairly small, and splitting it up into two sections would decrease the room the dogs have to run in.

I urge you to visit our park.  Either make your presence known so that we can ask questions of you, or just drop by to check it out.  Talk to the users.  We don’t bite, and neither do our dogs!  Bring a dog and watch the fun!  Even though I speak only on behalf of myself, I can tell you that the feelings expressed in this letter are virtually unanimous among the park’s denizens.  Whatever outreach may have been done years ago when these plans were first formulated was insufficient to get an accurate sense of how the people who use and love the park feel, and is now irrelevant.  We urge you to revisit this and take our feelings into consideration.

On Friday, May 10, there is to be a dedication ceremony for the neon dog sign at the Sunset entrance to the park.  It has occurred to many of us that this would be a good opportunity for us to make our presence felt and our feelings known.  However, 30 or 40 people carrying signs reading “No Astroturf,” “Leave Our Park Alone!” etc., could possibly be seen as disrespectful or disruptive and in protest of the sign.  No one wants to protest the sign.  It’s really rather cool, and is a welcome addition to the area.  But if you think it would make a difference, we could easily gather many dozens of signatures on a petition and present it there.

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If you really want to spend some money on the park, put in some WiFi for us.  That’d be nice.  Surely there are more pressing problems in the city to spend money on than making changes to a park that are unnecessary and unwanted by those who use it.

Thank you for your time and consideration of these issues.  And thank you for Hart Dog Park, too.

— Bob Claster

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Johnny
Johnny
13 days ago

I totally agree with the author. I go there twice daily and my dogs mix fine with all size dogs and the wood chips make sense. Anything else is stupid but this is a city steeped in graft with over paid city executives and glaring billboards and tacky architecture and cannabis shops

The park is fine. Leave it alone! You take my property taxes and other taxes and waste it on things that offer me little value but the William S. Hart Park is wonderful- hands off idiots

Matt Bijarchi
16 days ago

Yay Bob!!!!

John Ryan
John Ryan
17 days ago

100%! Let’s get that petition going. I planned to be there on Friday anyway. Leave the park alone!

Joshua88
Joshua88
17 days ago

I agree.

OMG !!!
OMG !!!
17 days ago

Is it true that Kristi Noem has been appointed Director of Dog Parks?

Alison
Alison
17 days ago

Good for you speaking up! You should talk to Stephanie Harker, over on the east side. She organized a group to kill the proposed changes to Plummer Park. She and her group lobbied the City and marched and protested until the changes were killed.

Had Enough
Had Enough
17 days ago

Everything they touch dies.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
18 days ago

I don’t have a dog so this shouldn’t matter to me but I do appreciate your bigger point which is applicable to a lot of what city council does. They seem to want to get their handprint on every nook and cranny of this city. We really don’t need them as much as they want to be needed. They want to leave a legacy of all the things they did when I would appreciate them far more for their restraint and the things they left alone.

Which of the council members want this, or is it all of them?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
17 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

If anyone actually visited the site, they would know dividing it up into separate areas for small dogs and large dogs would not leave enough room for either. If people with small dogs have an issue, they can use the size appropriate park in WeHo Park. But this is similar to the issue of removing the parking on Gardner where it does not appear anyone went out in person to see how the concept would work in real life.

Bob Claster
Bob Claster
14 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Well, that’s the big question. It’s obvious that the users of the park don’t want it. And it’s equally obvious that they don’t care. So, who’s pushing it so hard, and why? Does someone’s brother-in-law own a piece of an Astroturf company or something? The fact is that politically, they’re now in a position to take advantage of this. They can say, truthfully, that the people spoke, and they listened. They can brag about how responsive they were to the needs and wishes of the community. And then they’ll have all that money left over to spend however they like.… Read more »

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