ATWATER VILLAGE—Glenhurst Park is tiny. Sandwiched in a residential neighborhood on Glenhurst Avenue near Garden Avenue, the park boasts blue colored bird-shaped swings, a slide, patches of grass and a windy pathway. You wouldn’t know it but the park is a source of disagreement and concern.
A city sign at the park states dogs must be on a leash, and it’s one of the issues that has reared its head with concerned parents claiming pet owners let their dogs run “leash-less” instead.
The Atwater Village Neighborhood Council (AVNC) was asked to send a letter, from its environmental and land use committee, to various city entities requesting dogs be banned from the park altogether.
Dog owners and parents say they’re looking for a solution that wouldn’t diminish the other’s rights.
“Part of it is the neighborhood is changing. In the past few years a lot of new families are moving here, the schools are getting better,” said Jess, an Atwater Village resident who drafted the letter for the AVNC but declined to give her last name. ”It’s coming to a head because there’s more interest in that space.”
Jess said she takes her toddler to Glenhurst Park a couple times a week.
“I never want to take space away from dog owners but right now I don’t feel like the space is working for everybody,” she said.
One solution might be separate areas for dogs and children.
“There are health and safety issues from dogs,” Jess told the AVNC board. “I’ve spoken to owners with their dogs off the leash and I’ve been told every time ‘it’s fine.’”
Rachel Ryan, another parent who spoke at the AVNC meeting, said children were getting nipped at the heels by dogs. She also said people were stepping in dog feces.
“Now there are very few moms going there with kids,” said Ryan.
Dog owners who frequent the park see it differently.
Kevin Beaty, an Atwater Village resident who lives two blocks from the park, called himself “a responsible dog owner.”
“I really don’t see the problem with the children and I think it’s a park for all of us to use,” he said. “It really hasn’t been an issue for the last seven years I’ve been in Atwater Village.”
AVNC boardmembers were divided over the issue. Ultimately, the council voted to have the letter reviewed by its environmental and land use subcommittee.
Torin Dunnavant, co-chair of the AVNC board said the hope was for the subcommittee to find a new dog park in the area and have Glenhurst Park, dog free.
However, he said, dog owners would be negatively impacted by the shut out and finding or developing a new dog park might be difficult.
Newly appointed AVNC boardmember Julia Mewbourne said rampant dogs without leashes don’t happen in the park.
“There is a [city] municipal code and it says dogs need to be on leash,” she said. “I don’t see it as a major issue and I also don’t think we should ban people who pay taxes from a public park.”