Dogtown May Finally Host a State-Of-The-Art Facility for Our Furry and Four-Legged Friends.
By Nick Antonicello
For nearly a year, Centennial Park has been fenced and closed as the maintenance of this parcel has been going on for weeks, but what will be its final outcome?
The notion of a dog park specific to smaller breeds has been bantered about and submitted as what will officially become of this space that separates North and South Venice Boulevard.
For several residents on behalf of many became concerned about the decline of Centennial Park.
Once a welcoming space that abutted the Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library, the parcel no longer drew people to gather, and many residents chose to avoid visits to the library thanks to the proliferation of encampments that dominated the area until the clean-up that took place last year. Even with the encampments cleared, many see the library and surrounding area as less than safe.
A handful of residents in favor of a rejuvenation of Centennial Park volunteered to write, design and submit a proposal for consideration by the City of Los Angeles Department Recreation and Parks (www.laparks.org) .
The proposal’s theme is that residents were championing for the rich history of the park to be honored, while ushering in a bright and thriving future
(Read the application here: chrome-extension://bpmcpldpdmajfigpchkicefoigmkfalc/views/app.html).
Residents recognized that Centennial Park sits at a vibrant intersection representing all walks of life in this community of difference and diversity.
The immediate surrounding areas offer a host of attractions to locals and visitors alike including shopping, restaurants, groceries, schools, the ocean and library. As such, it was agreed that Centennial Park affords a perfect reprieve for all from the “hustle and bustle” of this urban enclave by the beach.
Strong resident feedback concurred that a safe space for our four-legged friends was lacking in and around this bustling intersection should be considered.
While most Venice restaurants and retailers offer water bowls and treats, there is no “off-leash” dog park to accommodate this community currently.
In fact, some residents were suffering from bites at Oakwood Recreation Center because dogs were running off-leash in a non-designated area.
Given that Marina Del Rey around that same time had invested in their own neighborhood to create the Glen Alla Dog Park, locals knew there was not only a precedent, but an acceptance for creating a space into a home for the dog lover in all of us.
As a result of careful and thoughtful considerations, the proposal submission became clear; a dog park (with a special section for small and timid dogs) where these pets can be welcomed, as well as individuals who want to congregate with their neighbors and friends.
And because California is faced with a constant threat of droughts, the landscaping was designed to honor the beauty of our native plants and thus, drought tolerant.
Shaded and manicured space, from which plants are locally sourced, would serve as an inspiration for homeowners to get away from landscapes that require constant watering and embrace “dry scaping” versus traditional forms of front yards that beautify the area’s residential homes.
Those closest to the park’s concept and design were passionate about having a perimeter pathway that allows the public to observe the pet activities inside the facility. The plan wanted to take into account joggers and walkers to retain an “easy flow” around the facility.
The proposed access points provide egress from safe to low traffic zones and a shade canopy of sorts as well as the vegetation which will be all California drought tolerant plants.
The planting will create an attractive space that won’t allow for loitering or camping.
The proposal also allows the opportunity to build reciprocating relationships and sponsorships with pet-friendly businesses and retailers here in Venice.
Because of the unique size of the parcel, this in many ways will be best used by smaller and more timid dogs. There are currently no ‘safe’ parks that accommodate small dogs in this neighborhood of Venice.
Supporters of the proposal believe there is a “crossover interest” with the library and its guests, card members and visitors. Many believe families and residents in this neighborhood would be excited for the area to endorse a fun and safe venue that offers a multitude of opportunities to visit a restored and renovated Centennial Park just due north of the Free Public Library on Venice Boulevard.
Nick Antonicello is a thirty-year resident of Venice and a member of the Outreach and Oceanfront Walk Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org). Have a take or a tip on all things Venice? You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org