Whelp, we pretty much beat our young turf to death in the first 4-5 weeks. But, in a way, this set back simply reinforces what we have been saying for some time now. Turf is only one part of the equation. We must shift the foot and paw traffic and give our 2-Legged and 4-Legged members a reasonable amount of “other surface” areas in which to congregate. Experiencing our dog park is just like throwing a party. No matter how large or well appointed your home may be — why is it everyone seems to congregate in the kitchen (or pack in to one specific place)?
It’s just the way it is! Both human and canine SWCDP members are mostly social beings. So . . . no matter how many years we have repeatedly asked members to keep moving and not stay in one place – we are finally going to turn this social factor into a driving force supporting many of our capital improvement projects. Beginning in 2021 and for however long it takes (likely a multi year project to do everything we have under consideration).
For now, we are down to dirt again although the majority of the back third of Main and most of the Alternate are still in decent shape. We are mildly optimistic about those areas. Our current condition is really no big surprise to those of us who have been managing this dog park for over a decade. We have a robust dog park with heavy and constant traffic – this type of activity will devastate any turf. Dog parks exist in their own universe as it relates to maintenance challenges.
SWCDP re-opend on November 5 after our Fall Turf Renovation period. For the sake of getting a rough idea of foot and paw traffic – we used 20 days in November. The other 10 were closed to a combination of weather closings (5), fall renovation (4), one partial day with minimal traffic (1).
Our average was about 121 households per day. Remember, each household could have 1-3 humans and 1-3 dogs with each visit. It is certainly feasible that our turf is challenged to handle a minimum of 121 humans (242 feet) to 363 humans (726 feet) PLUS 121 dogs (484 paws) to 363 dogs (1,442 paws) on any given day. Now, multiply that out for an entire month of constant pounding on the turf. As we continue to grow and during months of excellent weather – this number will likely increase. Geez! We are asking a lot from our grass, aren’t we?
In the meantime, here is what we know:
We are only in the early stages of our new Turf Management program – and still working on the possible capital improvements. Once our Five Year Plan is further developed – we will reach out to members for input via a member survey / comments – sometime in February-March. We remain committed to a green, natural park – we have no plans for dumping mulch over the entire area – giving us a year-round brown dog park. We also remain committed to installing pathways (other surface areas) as well as creating three turf zones in Main that can be fenced off temporarily, as needed, to give the turf short breaks from member traffic. All this and more will be explained in more detail in first quarter 2021.
Members who are only interested in “today” and seeking more instant gratification, this transition period may be difficult. Members who see SWCDP as a wonderful city amenity as well as excellent community and venue for their 4-Leggeds to thrive over their life time – hopefully – will support our vision and help us get there.
All donations to SWCDP are tax deductible.
Any donation to SWCDP this year will be earmarked for 2021 special projects (SWCDP Hub) – we will send you a receipt for your donation – and next year we will contact you so that you may direct your funds to a specific project element or keep in the general capital improvement fund. We will not officially start up any fundraising until April 2021.