Pooch Park will get much needed rehab

Kelly Baumann is one of many residents who know the Claremont Pooch Park needs to be revamped.

Ms. Baumann has been coming to the park with her dog, a Chihuahua mix named Karuna, for over a year. As Karuna started her park day by playing with a nearby poodle, Ms. Baumann noted the park has long been in a state of disrepair.

“I was kind of surprised how quickly it went downhill,” she said. She noted, in particular, a water fountain at the perimeter of the park that was leaking for months and had just recently been fixed.

But Claremont’s four-legged faithful are in for a treat—the city is moving forward with plans to renovate and beautify the city’s long-suffering Pooch Park. The city council also unanimously approved design plans for a renovation of the park during the February 28 city council meeting.

The changes, presented to the council by Deputy Director of Community Services Dave Roger, include a subterranean drainage system, a water-based irrigation system and new Bermuda grass. The report follows a community meeting last Septe

mber, where the plans were vetted and approved by those in attendance.

The cost of the improvements comes out to $343,892, which is around $14,000 above the allotted budget of $330,000, Mr. Roger noted. The total cost includes construction cost estimates, a 20 percent prevailing wage estimate and a 10 percent contingency.

The funds were set aside as part of the 2016-2018 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget, and the contract was awarded to Architerra Design Group in July 2016.

Jeff Chamlee, a representative for Architerra, gave a detailed description of the plan to the council. The overall look of the Pooch Park would remain largely intact, save for a few extra trees along the access road and a few new benches. The main changes, he said, were improved drainage systems, new grass and new soil.

Mr. Chamlee said they aren’t “exciting” additions to the park, but vital to turning it into something attractive and “viable” for the city. 

Mr. Roger noted that, due to the high traffic of the Pooch Park, the city would have to close it for 120 days in order t

o allow the new grass to grow back.

Acting on a recommendation from Friends of the Pooch Park, Mr. Roger noted the right time to close it would be in May of 2018 to “give the park a chance to come back and replenish the turf.”

Going forward, the park would close for about four weeks per year to allow the turf to grow back.

“What we’re looking for is something that’s going to be long-lasting,” Mr. Chamlee said.

One potential addition that was not included in the plans is lighting. In a phone interview, Mr. Roger explained that lighting from the entrance into College Park would most likely be sufficient.

“There should be enough spillover from that to provide some lighting to the Pooch Park,” he said, adding that sleeves for a possible later addition of lighting would be added to the south end of the park.

Debi Woolery, president of Friends of the Pooch Park, used her time during public comment to laud the effort by the city to work with the group and express excitement of the impending improvements. 

The council approved the plan, 5-0. The approval allows the city to bid the project out to prospective construction firms. Mr. Roger said the city hopes to open bids by April, with a report presented to the council by May.

If all goes as planned, construction on the park should begin around June of this year, Mr. Roger said.

—Matthew Bramlett




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