New dog park opens in Grove Shafter Park

January 15, 2011 1:20:56 PM PST
A new dog play area will be unleashed in Oakland's Grove Shafter Park Saturday, according to City Councilwoman Jane Brunner.

The park was a collaborative effort by the city's Office of Parks and Recreation, the Oakland Redevelopment Agency, the Longfellow Community Association, and the Oakland Dog Owners Group.

Community member Julie Clemens came up with the idea and collected signatures from local dog owners to prompt the play area's construction.

"The park had been largely unutilized for many, many years," Brunner said. "But the community really got behind this idea."

The $55,000 bill for the park renovations was footed by a grant from the redevelopment agency as well as funds from Brunner's office.

The new play area includes benches, picnic tables, boulders for dogs to scamper up, and in-ground waste receptacles.

The most unique features of the park, Brunner said, are the fenced dog runs.

"They have a little place for small dogs and a separate space for larger dogs," she said.

In place of a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony, Brunner will preside over a leash cutting of the park area at 11:45 a.m.

The celebration will feature local speakers, along with face painting, refreshments and pet adoptions.

The Longfellow Community Association has adopted the park, pledging to keep it clean and inviting, Brunner said.

Brunner hopes that the play area will draw more than just dogs to the park, noting the neighborhood's early involvement.

"When you have dogs at a park, it makes it safer," Brunner said. "They love it. And, so far, the community has gotten active. It really is a great thing."