When the quarantine fell upon us all in an effort to protect the City’s residents parks were closed. As re-opening began, some parks were made available for public use but not Oakland Bark, the City’s one and only dog park. Dog owners throughout Oakland Park have waited for it to open, but as of today it is not yet accessible to the public. In the Living In Oakland Park Facebook group and other social media residents of the City have been asking why it has not yet opened.
Oakland Bark Dog Park Remains Closed
On September 3rd, 2020 Christopher Hale posted on Living in Oakland Park Facebook group: “What’s going on with re-opening the dog park? Is any City Official doing anything about it?”. This thread generated 59 comments and not less than 1500 views. Oakland Park residents voiced their frustrations that Oakland Park has not yet opened.
After this thread quieted down, on September 11th Pete Pulgar posted: “For those of you that have voiced a concern regarding the dog park not being open, I just got off the phone and was told that it was closed until further notice. The city is holding a “public hearing” virtually not open to the public but we can send emails with no more than 250 words to email@example.com and they would address our concerns then“. This thread generated another barrage of frustration.
Dog Park Opening Debated at Special City Commission Meeting
While many think their pleas have been falling on deaf ears, they have not. Yesterday at the Special Commission Meeting Mayor Sparks modified the agenda to include Commissioner commentary regarding the dog park in an effort to bring the issue to the forefront.
Mayor Sparks asked Commissioner Carn to comment and he commented that the City management had put something into place and handed the floor over to the City Manager, David Hebert.
Hebert responded that update the Commissioners on Wednesday about Oakland Bark when he presented his Coronavirus update to the Commission. Finally he noted that he is “…open always to get any feedback and information that the Commission would like to provide”.
Vice Mayor Bolin commented next noting that she has been receiving a lot of calls regarding the dog park. She shared that she feels it is critical that the City open its parks. She also added that the responsibility for being safe was up to each individual. If residents can use the parks in a responsible manner they should be opened.
Commissioner Lonergan expressed that he would like to follow CDC guidelines regarding the opening of the parks. He noted that he would follow suit once the CDC determined they could open.
Commissioner Sara Guevrekian was not in attendance.
Playgrounds were also brought up but that issue is a little more complicated. Mayor Sparks noted that one doctor said it is much more difficult to enforce the separation of children.
The fate of the dog park will be discussed at this Wednesday’s (Sept 16 2020) Commission meeting. If you are an Oakland Park resident that wants Oakland Bark open, then let City know.
Let The City Know
While Matthew Sparks and Jane Bolin each carry the title of Mayor and Vice Mayor respectively, their votes in the City Commission do not carry more weight that those of the other Commissioners. In order for a decision to be made to open the dog park, a majority of the Commissioners have to be in favor of it.
As residents of Oakland Park you can express your desire to have Oakland Bark re-opened by contacting the Commissioners by email and by phone. In addition, contact the City administration by clicking here to Report a Concern. Last but not least, participate in the up and coming Commission meeting by sending your public comments, no more than 250 word, to firstname.lastname@example.org. To participate in the public hearing part of the meeting contact the City Clerk’s office at 954-630-4300 for information on how to log in to the webinar.
By presenting a united and decided front that it is time to let the dogs out and open Oakland Bark, our City officials and administration will have to address the multitude of concerns at this week’s Commission meeting. The outcome, we can only hope, will be favorable to Oakland Park’s fur babies.
Share your thoughts about Oakland Bark in the comments below.