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Cerritos Parks and Recreation Commission Collars Dog Park

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By Brian Hews

On a 3-1-1 vote the Cerritos Parks and Recreation Commission voted not to recommend to City Council the construction of a dog park in Cerritos.

Voting not to recommend the park was Jack Reidy, James Fong Yee, and Kenneth Cha; voting yes was Cindy Yen Chen, with Brad Beach inexplicably ‘abstaining.’

The consensus not to recommend seemed to come from the fact that there are so many dog parks close to Cerritos’ borders and that, coupled with very little land available in the city that was not in close proximity to homes, sealed the fate of a dog park.

Two dog park studies have been conducted twice in the past 14 years, once in 1997 and again in 2007.

Since 2007, seven dog parks have been constructed in cities near Cerritos.

The cities that have constructed dog parks since 2007 include Downey, Fullerton, Buena Park, Southgate, Brea, Lakewood, and Bellflower.

Prior to 2007 the cities of Long Beach and Huntington Beach constructed dog parks in 1996 and 1999 respectively.

The city has likely seen many Cerritos dog owners travel to nearby dog parks and afterwards shop or eat in those cities, taking valuable tax dollars away from the Cerritos’ coffers.

Driving from Cerritos City Hall, the Bellis Dog Park in Buena Park is only 3 miles away, Lakewood’s Home Run Dog Park only 6 miles, the Flora Vista Park in Bellflower opening in February only 6.5 miles, and the David R. Gafin Dog Park in Downey and the Pooch Park in Fullerton are only 7 miles away.

All parks are city owned and operated and range from less than an acre in Buena Park to three acres in Long Beach. All have ample shopping and eateries in close proximity to the park.

Construction of parks ranged from $30,000 to $300,000.

Surface material such as decomposed granite and wrought iron fencing commanded the largest costs as well as plumbing and electrical work for lighting.

Out of the nine parks the city looked into, only two are lighted, Fullerton and Long Beach. All parks have small and large dog separations.

Cerritos’ previous estimates put the cost of a “modest” dog park in at $250,000, with estimated annual maintenance costs of $19,000.

The commission methodically looked at sites in the city and eliminated them using certain criteria.

No MTA land could be used because of the specific use designated for right-of-ways as outlined in their agreement with the city. Accordingly, the city would be prohibited from developing any MTA space for a dog park.

Additionally, the city of Cerritos leases land owned by Southern California Edison to provide various park facilities in the city limits. Under restrictions outlined in those agreements, the city cannot construct a permanent structure on Edison property.

But undeterred, Cerritos Recreation Services Superintendent Sherre Titus did send a request to SCE to use a portion of the leased land for dog park.

The request was denied by SCE.

In their letter to Ms. Titus SCE said, “after thorough consideration and review, SCE must deny this request for the proposed dog park. [The park] would compromise SCE’s capacity to safely perform operations and severely impact our ability to maintain the reliability of the electrical system.”

After taking that land out of consideration, the Commission then eliminated “neighborhood parks” so all that remained was Heritage Park and Cerritos Park East.

No consensus of the Commission was reached, so they voted not to recommend the dog park to the city council.

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