After a spirited community meeting in March at which over 140 participants gave input, plans have been finalized and ground has been broken for the new historically themed dog park that will be installed at a section of Bixby Park that is used less than other sections of the location, in Parcel One at the corner of Cherry Avenue and Broadway.
Groundbreaking for the dog park took place shortly after July 4. The construction, installation and maintenance of the dog park are under the direction of the Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Administration.
The new dog park is the pet project of Second District Councilmember Jeannine Pearce, with some backing from the Third District. Because Bixby Park is located in the Second District but borders on the Third, Councilmember Suzie Price will share the cost of the dog park, which will be accessible to Third District residents who live in this area and want somewhere nice to bring their dogs.
“I am happy to support Councilwoman Pearce on this project,” Price said. “This dog park will be unlike any other in the city, and I know that the residents of Bluff Park, whom I represent, will appreciate our commitment to preserving the historic look of the park while also activating this treasured place.”
Pearce’s office reported overwhelming support for the dog park from area residents. However, people who live nearby or run businesses near the originally proposed location—the center of parcel one, near Junipero and Broadway—expressed opposition to the original location. Owners and managers of eating establishments in particular felt that the added noise and activity from the park would be a distraction to patrons who wanted to sit outside and enjoy a relatively quiet dining experience.
“We needed a good area that would be of use to the dog owners but could still be easily integrated within the plan for the park,” said Peter Hanink, a Friends of Bixby Park board member.
Friends of Bixby Park is a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining the park’s landscape in both a horticultural and a visual sense, including its historical furnishings such as the band shell, fencing and lampposts. In this sense, the group reached out to Pearce and Price to propose options for the historical fencing, which was ultimately selected to blend with the historic theme of the benches, lampposts and other fencing at the park. The project will be funded through discretionary funds from Districts Two and Three, the city’s general fund and the Friends of Bixby Park.
The little circle and its benches shaded by trees evoke an earlier, quieter era, thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Bixby Park. Photos by Kate Karp.
The fencing in the new dog park will be of the same design as the rest of the fencing in the park. Photo courtesy of Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Administration.
Along with the aesthetic aspect, Friends of Bixby Park has a firm stake in the park’s usage and development. Hanink said that the organization’s members are very happy with the new location, as the other business owners and residents no doubt are. The only structure located directly across from the dog-park site is the Rite Aid pharmacy, so the canine visitors will only have a white wall and a parking lot to bark at.
Construction is underway at the new dog park in Bixby Park, at the corner of Cherry Avenue and Broadway.
“We like the idea of the dog park—we’re really excited about people coming to use it,” Hanink said. “And this is the least-used portion of Bixby Park, and it’s also the section of the park that needs the most work regarding historical preservation. Anything that will get people to use the park, we’re very supportive of.”
Hanink added that the Junipero location is hillier than the Cherry Avenue site, and the Friends wanted to reserve it for picnickers. A hilly location might also be more problematic for the site’s construction.
The new dog park will be open to paws of all sizes in August.
“I am excited to see that we are able to bridge the important value of preservation with the current need for activation at Bixby Park,” Pearce said. “This new addition to the park, will allow us to create a welcoming space where we can build community while paying homage to our history. I cannot wait to see all the new human and puppy friendships that form!”
Councilmember Jeannine Pearce enjoying time with a friend’s dog. Photo courtesy of City Council District 2.
The Friends of Bixby Park are involved in raising money for their share of the Park’s expenses. If you plan to use the park and want to contribute—or even if you have cats and don’t—follow this link for donation information.
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