Monday, August 02, 2010

Bark Park in Baytown Goes Down Hill in Less Than a Year.

It took less a year before the wonderful dog park looked like it was old.  Blame it on perpetual water leaks, excessive rainfall, lower than grade trails, and mosquitoes which cause people to shun the park and that is a real shame, as it has so much potential.

My Bride and I visit the park 4-5 times per week and we have taken to walking our dogs on the trails through the woods instead, as they are well-maintained.  The dog park trail has weeds growing through the trail itself and even though it is dray as a bone on all the outer trails, water perpetually stands at the entrance and on lower areas inside the fenced park.

Last December 9th, I wrote Parks Superintendent Scott Johnson and appealed to raise the level of the trails inside the Bark Park and he wrote: “We will add when we can get in without tearing everything up”.

February 8th, I again wrote: “Dog Park: My Bride and I took our two little doggies to the Park  today and it is perfect in almost every way, except the water across the paths and the mud holes in front of the Poo drop off points.  I realize a large dump truck of gravel would leave giant ruts, but can't something on a smaller scale be done until dry weather?  I have a feeling there is a lot of grumbling going on behind the scenes over this, but most people are silent.  We bathed both dogs when we got home. BTW, both sides (small and large) have flooded areas of trail and mud is real bad at both entrances”.

Scott Johnson wrote back: “Bert, the dog park is no different from most of all our parks right now, a big mud hole.  We will place additional crushed granite on the trail when we can get in without tearing everything up.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  (We really could use a month of dry weather)”.

On March 4th, I wrote City Manager Garry Brumback and appealed about the wet entrances: “…the dog park is in bad shape.  It looks like a water leak”.

Kylie Wilson repaired it immediately and here is his response: “Garry - it was the irrigation causing the excess and standing water.  Tony got the water pumped out and checked the timer.  They will keep watching it to make sure there are no other issues. But as of now it is working properly again”.

On July 22nd, once again a water leak was discovered by myself and reported: “There appears to be a bad leak at the back of the dog park, close to the trail.  Water is pouring into Cary Bayou”.

Deputy City Manager Bob Leiper responds: “I had the dispatcher call out the overtime crew to check the leak and make whatever emergency repairs are appropriate”. “Thanks for the heads-up. It was a 2” line that had pulled apart. It was repaired last night”.

August 1st, I again appeal to city management after discovering all trails in the entire park are dry except the once again flooded entrance and trails at the dog park: “there is a real problem at the dog park that is not being addressed, in my opinion.

I've written and written about the low trails, which flood any time it rains, the standing water at the entrance and the numerous water leaks which are reoccurring. This morning I walked my dogs through the whole Jenkins park trails complex and only found one small area with water beside the trail, then I came to Bark Park and it was so wet, I wouldn't take my dogs inside for more than a couple of photos.

I suggest a stricter schedule of grass cutting, weeds kept off the trail with herbicide and a regular spray schedule for fleas should be posted.

May I also suggest another dog poo station closer to the parking lot?  The dogs get one whiff and they immediately squat.

Also, is the bark park totally finished or is more to be added as time passes?  Otherwise, I love our parks and the great job I see of keeping them maintained”.

Bob Leiper, who always punctual and on top of things writes back: “Thanks for your comments. The massive amounts of rainfall have impacted our mowing schedules, not to mention accelerated growth of the grass. We are working hard to catch up. We also know that we need to work on the drainage issues and chase down all the water leaks. Unfortunately the limitations of budget and staff, coupled with the demands of the July 4th event and preparation of the Pirates Bay Family Aquatic Center make it even more challenging.

We are working on the mowing and Scott’s folks will look at adding another poo station. Please continue to let me know when you see water leaks and we’ll work the low spots in the trail as quickly as we can.

It is our plan to continue to add features to Jenkins Park, including the dog park, as funds and time allow. I don’t believe there are specific plans at this time due to budget constraints, both locally and the lack of State grant programs.

We appreciate your comments and suggestions and I know we both want the same thing: a better Baytown. Thanks”.

If you, the reader would like to see a well-maintained Bark Park, please by all means voice your opinion on this subject.  Our city leaders have an open door policy and they need to hear what is important and will welcome your response.

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