PTC dog park ‘pay to play’

Tue, 01/19/2010 - 4:49pm
By: John Munford

Change would create public access hours, free programs

Barking and frolicking are not free, at least at Peachtree City’s Dog Park.

The Peachtree City Dog Park Association has been requiring dog owners to pony up a $35 annual fee to use the park in lieu of traditional fund-raising, said association president and former city Mayor Steve Brown.

A new contract with the association that would create “public access hours” at the park along with programs available to city residents for free or no charge will be considered by the City Council.

The new agreement also allows the dog park association to obtain sponsorships and display associated signs as long as they comply with the city’s sign ordinance.

The fee became a bone of contention at a recent council meeting when Harold Yelton complained that his daughter was “turned away” from the park because her family hadn’t paid the annual fee or $1 per visit.

Yelton said he understood the park was city-owned and while the dog park association has done a lot of good things, he felt the fee was not legitimate.

Yelton’s inquiry with the city has led to city officials drawing up a new agreement with the dog park association which would require the association to “consult with the city to determine all fees, membership dues and all other charges” for the park.

The park is on city-owned land and in 2002 the City Council provided $5,000 in seed money. The park is located adjacent to the city’s BMX track at the Shakerag recreation complex off McIntosh Trail. Ultimately more than $20,000 in additional money was raised by volunteers to fund construction of the park.

But the dog park needs roughly $3,200 a year to maintain the park and pay for liability insurance, maintenance and the like, Brown said, nothing that the city does not fund any dog park operations other than the monthly water bill; city crews also will empty trash receptacles at the park.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by Spyglass on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 10:18am.

to stir up this group of mymidons.

Sometimes the things that set you guys off makes me just laugh.

WRZ's picture
Submitted by WRZ on Wed, 01/20/2010 - 7:53pm.

Dogpark fees make dogparks safer and the people too
simple to figure that out, should stay home.

But I would like to know how they plan to enforce this
fee and Steve Browns' conatct info ?
ccdogpark at yahooDotCom ......
WRZ ......

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Wed, 01/20/2010 - 2:12pm.

Screw Peachtree City Dog Park Association! The land and seed money was given to them to build a public park. The fee is not about money. The fee is about the Association not wanting to share thier park with the general public. If they don't want to share there park I don't know why we want to share city land with them.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 11:11am.

Just about every association from soccer to football to hockey have fees for their membership using city-owned property and these fees usually are beyond just simply paying for uniforms and association provided equipment. Those fees also cover costs and manpower that the associations bear that the city isn't having to do.

Let me make it simple: if the dog park is charging a fee and it's going to keep the dog park clean, safe, insured, in compliance with whatever, these are tasks and expenses the city isn't having to fully cover. How is that a bad thing? Yes, I realize that some city money was used to start all of this and it was mental midget Councilman Murray Weed's idea to begin with, but doesn't everyone realize that EVERY sports field or park in the city was created with city money to begin with?

It's a great idea to have Council and the dog park people review the basic principles of how this dog park is going to be run/not run and getting that info out to the public, but the basic idea of charging some kind of fee to use city-owned property by association is hardly a new thing.

Not a fan of Steve Brown the political dude and I don't have a dog in this dog park fight (yuck yuck) as I don't use it, but I don't see where Brown is doing anything nefarious here. Seems like common sense to me.

Submitted by Spyglass on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 12:46pm.

is what this place does best, in case you haven't noticed.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 12:05pm.

Perhaps its senility on my part, but associations do not retain exclusive rights to city property. Take for example, four kids and a soccer ball conducting a pick up game on a vacant city field, or the same four kids with a basketball at an unused city court, does an association have the right, much less gall, to tell them to leave? Granted, I haven't been to the dog park for awhile, but the last time I was there we picked up after our own pooch with no one telling me to pay a buck or join their group.

My point back to you is that the Peachtree City Recreation Department is very well funded and can easily cover the $3200.00 annual maintenance costs. If they actually need an association to take the responsibility because of whatever reason, then the problem is not just at the Dog Park.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 01/20/2010 - 2:10pm.

Jeez! $5000.00 seed money from the city, $3200.00 to maintain annually, and $20,000.00 from volunteers to establish, and now an association run by Mr Brown is turning away tax paying citizens of our town? I knew that contraversy followed old Steve like the plague, but I would certainly had hoped that a former mayor would remain above canine excrement.

Not one of the original donors are asking for a refund, the city has remained quiet, and patrons have kept the park clean. So why do we have a Dog Czar? Better yet, who gave Steve control of a city park?

Submitted by Doug on Wed, 01/20/2010 - 10:25pm.

I take both my dogs to the park and it's fantastic. Mr. Brown saved the park and the people who use it appreciate it. It's the only non-athletic park we use in the city. My kids can't wait to go and see the dogs and it's so clean I don't mind them coming along.

Submitted by jevank on Wed, 01/20/2010 - 3:38pm.

We'll just go with "Brown droppings."

Submitted by jevank on Wed, 01/20/2010 - 1:38pm.

The only good thing to come out of this dog park is that we are seeing the problems that can arise when the city partners with citizens on projects. We could be fighting the (shudder) ice rink on a much larger scale.

And since when are "volunteers" able to just start charging fees for something that needed "seed money"? That's just another term for higher taxes. It uses city property, city man hours to help clean up, city money when it fails.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 7:13am.

Is it $1 per visit per person, per dog, per family?

If Doug's kids come to watch, do they have to pay?

Same questions for the $35 annual pass - how many people/dogs does it cover?

And the big question - how do you enforce this? A city employee as a gatekeeper 7 day a week? Anybody think that's going to be cost efficient?

Oh yea, 1 more question. How are all the other dog parks around the country maintained?

The people who created this park were well-intentioned, but the city should have realized from the get go that they were going to be maintaining this thing - just like all other dog parks in the country. Can't imagine who was in charge of the city when this idea was hatched and why they weren't smart enough to set up city maintenance right away.

And the wonderful irony of a failed politician as the saying goes - unable to get elected dog catcher - is now running the dog park

Submitted by Doug on Fri, 01/22/2010 - 1:41pm.

Mudcat, I'm not sure how the $1 fee works. We paid the $35 for 12 months, not a bad deal. I can tell you the membership is is per family including dogs.

I've seen people manning the front gate checking a membership list.

The only other dog park we've been to is the one at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. The private operator who runs the park also runs the dog section. I actually like ours in Peachtree City better.

What's up with Mike King anyway? He's grumpy and envious.

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Fri, 01/22/2010 - 5:12pm.

I don't use the dog park and I'm happy I don't pay for it. Less government sounds good to me!!!

Don't worry about Mike King. He just hates Steve Brown, not the dog park. He's an old retired Army fart like me with nothing better to do than grumble.

Vote Republican

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 7:46am.

At least it gives former mayors something to do. I do wonder, however, if Harold will succeed him as Association Pres when he realizes the futility of seeking state office.

I guess I'm too old fashioned to understand why we need an association to run/control a city park given the budget of Peachtree City's Recreation Department. But then, with a mindset of doing everything for everybody is what makes our government grow.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 8:01am.

Once a week empty the trash. Once a month clean up some dog poop and spread some mulch. No need to complicate it with an association, fees, leadership, etc. The Rec department can absorb this with no fanfare.

Harold is just running for statewide office so he had an excuse not to run for mayor again since he knew he would lose. He knew by his predecessor's example that an incumbent voted out of office has very little chance of coming back. No shame in trying for statewide office and coming in third or fourth. He's still high profile and can run again. He can even use the funds he raised this time for a run at county commissioner, which is his most likely next move.

cowtipn's picture
Submitted by cowtipn on Wed, 01/20/2010 - 1:00pm. becomes their responsibility to clean up after my dog.

Submitted by GAltant on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 8:09pm.

This is a great long as fairness is maintained.
We should have Pay for Play for all activities such as the BMX Track, The Gathering Place and all other public services. All of them have insurance and upkeep issues...let make sure we do not single out dog owners only.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.