Mount residents talk about building another dog park off leash area
The Steelers were playing that night but it didn't matter.
A crowd of over 60 persons still came to the monthly community forum meeting of the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation Aug. 18 to discuss building an unleashed dog park in the neighborhood.
An elementary school child, Makenzie Czegan, displayed a sign she made that read "We need dog parks!" and "Dogs need to play!"
"No location has been chosen yet," said MWCDC executive director Chris Beichner prior to the meeting. "Emerald View Park has 257 acres to choose from. We want to hear what the community needs and what the city needs and to consider any maintenance factors. So far, we have a clean slate."
Robert Kaczorowski, director of the Department of Public Works, and Mike Bradley, director of CitiParks, also attended.
"There are 90 neighborhoods that would like to have a CDC like you have in Mount Washington," Mr. Bradley said.
"We will do the best we can to listen to what you have to say," he said. "Tonight is a listening forum."
Some of the comments heard that night included:
"I am very much for it. It is a great way to know your neighbors in a safe environment."
"I go to Frick Park. It is too far from the main road. As a single woman it is not safe for me to go alone."
"You have to drive to these parks. We don't all have cars."
"These are good people here tonight and they deserve a place.'
One man asked the city representatives if it was legal to walk dogs off leash and was told it wasn't. He then responded, "It seems to me that there are 100 other things that the police should focus on that are a way greater risk to public safety. That has got to be at the bottom of the list."
The city staffers said people in other neighborhoods like Shadyside were getting fined for walking dogs off leash.
"I am for Olympia Park. It needs a fence," was another comment. Volunteers at the meeting offered to install it and pour the concrete.
Mr. Bradley said there are six neighborhoods requesting dog parks.
"The neighbors had a conversation about this before and then three years went by," a man said.
"I wasn't the director three years ago. We'll do the best we can. We have to see which locations are viable," Mr. Bradley said.
MWCDC vice president Jon Lusin advised the dog park proponents to meet with Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, identify the options and keep the public works department in the loop. City council would have to approve a zoning change to allow the dog park.
Nicholas Martini, Ms. Kail-Smith's constituent liason, was in attendance.
"This needs to be tweaked," Mr. Beichner said. He said Ms. Kail-Smith had requested the night's meeting topic and he realized the city had to assess maintenance and liability costs.
Mr. Kaczorowski said eventually there would be a public hearing.
Residents Michael Andreychak and Adam Paul Cosgrove were among the leaders of the discussion that night and they plan on future involvement.
Quoting the popular film "Field of Dreams," an attendee said, "Remember, if you build it, they will come. This might mean more traffic and parking."
Ilyssa Manspeizer, MW CDC director of Park Development and Conservation, thanked the group for its passion. She also made several announcements concerning events in Grandview Park.
On September 11 Father Victor Cianca will preside over "Public Prayer for Fallen Heroes" at 2 p.m. in the park.
A Park Bark will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 15 at the park and will feature blessing of the animals, information table, vendors and an agility course for the pets.
Yoga in the Park, at the cost of $5 per session, is being held there on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. until the end of September.
A Farm Dinner, prepared by Chef Justin Severino, a