The Cameron Park Community Services District has approved a $5,000 donation to the dog park project planned at Hacienda Park.
Phase 1 costs are estimated at $35,000 to $45,000. A private foundation is expected to donate as much as $40,000 to the project.
Though the CSD board has been all-together supportive of the park in the past, one director and some members of the public questioned whether the district should be donating money amidst the current economic climate.
Director Rich Green said he supports the park, but cannot vote for such funding in light of the district’s budget problems.
“I feel it’s a worthy cause,” he said. “But I made a pledge when I ran for this position that I would be very careful with what we spend.”
Resident Bill Carey echoed Green’s sentiments and another local, Gerald Lillpop, questioned the potential liability that could come with an off-leash dog park.
But the dog lovers were quick to respond. El Dorado Dog Owners Guild Vice President Gary Ellis argued that dog owners make up a large part of the community and, he said, “It’s high time my tax dollars go to a good use.”
Resident and dog park supporter Tom Van Dyke countered Lillpop’s liability argument and said property values would increase with such a facility.
“If we’re so worried about liability we should end all of our programs,” Van Dyke said. “And believe it or not, dog parks are one of those things that people look for when choosing a place to live.”
Currently, Hacienda Park costs the district some $5,600 annually to maintain. The dog park would tack on an additional $1,960.
But Ellis and others with EDDOG said the organization can likely help with maintenance if the district’s financial woes worsen.
In the end, directors Alan Clarke, Shiva Frentzen, Greg Stanton and Scott McNeil voted to donate the $5,000, while Green maintained his position.
Construction on the park’s first phase is expected to begin this summer.