Small Modesto park may be going to the dogs

June 14, 2011 

— City Council members decided Tuesday that Elk Park in central Modesto should be given to the dogs.

The small park on West Morris Avenue, near the Virginia Corridor trail, will become Modesto’s first official dog park.

Right now, it’s just a patch of lawn overshadowed by full-grown trees, but volunteers are trying to raise $113,000 for improvements so the dog park can open in the fall.

The council dedicated the land with the understanding that volunteers raise all the money for improvements and maintenance.

The city had planned to sell the land because the park isn’t up to standards.

“We met with the residents in the neighborhood and they were very positive about a dog park going in,” said Connie Pinkston, president of Friends of Modesto Dog Park. “It will be a good place for people and animals to socialize.”

Modesto residents can run their dogs at a church-owned dirt lot on Prescott Avenue. But the city facility is expected to look more like a conventional dog park.

Pinkston said the improvements for the Morris Avenue park will include a fence, benches, drinking fountains for dogs and owners, trash receptacles, poop-bag dispensers, parking-lot striping and access for the disabled.

An architect has volunteered to design the grounds, she said. The $113,000 fund-raising goal will include a $40,000 endowment for maintenance. Volunteers have raised $45,000.

The dog park has no name. But there is a possibility of giving naming rights to a donor who makes a big contribution, Pinkston said.

Canines can usually run off-leash at dog parks. Regulations may require that dogs be licensed and vaccinated, and that owners pick up after their dogs.

Friends of Modesto Dog Park raised about $7,000 with the “Go Modo Go” walk on Earth Day. Recyclable items taken to Modesto Junk Co. can also be designated for the dog park; Boyett Petroleum of Modesto matches the funds.

People can donate toward the dog park improvements by going to www.friendsofmodestodogpark.com. For donor information, click on “contact us.” Or write a check payable to Stanislaus County Foundation No. 153 and send it to Connie Pinkston, P.O. Box 577614, Modesto 95357.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or (209) 578-2321.

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