WEST CHESTER >> In a strong show of solidarity, many of the 20 neighbors in attendance at Wednesday’s borough council work session directly delivered the message that they don’t want to see a leash-less dog park constructed in Horace Pippin Park.
“Your words do not fall on deaf ears,” Council President Diane LeBold told residents from the East Market Street neighborhood.
Council will vote, at Thursday’s meeting, to consider other options, including building a fenced-in leash-less facility at Hoopes or Bayard Rustin parks.
“We’re going to leave the door open,” LeBold told a resident about possibly still creating a dog park at the community space named after the well-known West Chester artist.
Guidelines might limit a park to only borough residents. All pooches would be registered, a picture of each dog taken and dog owners would need to submit proof of necessary vaccinations.
Larger and smaller dogs might be segregated and welcome at different times.
At a later date, a webcam might be installed for live broadcast on the internet.
If located at Pippin Park, black four-foot high plastic fence might cover 25,500 square feet and circle most of the park.
Councilman Bernie Flynn has championed construction of a dog park.
Flynn estimated the total cost at $50,000 and received an estimate for fencing at $22,000.
He said that Hoopes Park might not be suitable since it might not be accessible under the American Disabilities Act.
“It’s a major concern with everything we do,” Flynn said, “Everybody has to be able to participate.
“Everyone has to come in and leave safely. We all want something but we don’t want it in our back yard.”
Flynn said he feared that some prospective Hoopes Park users with wheelchairs and walkers wouldn’t be able to chase a loose dog on the uneven and sloping ground of Hoopes Park.
Borough Manager Mike Perrone said that the entire park doesn’t have to be accessible to those with disabilities, as was dictated by the 1991 federal act.
Council members heard from residents that there is limited visitor parking in the Pippin Park area, and odors would be unwelcome.
One resident said a park at Pippin would be ugly and resemble a “prison yard.”
Another park neighbor complained about run-off and someone else wanted to preserve the beauty of the park. A resident suggested that any funding might be better used for something else, such as reopening the swimming pool at the Melton Center.
Flynn also announced that a dog park meeting is scheduled for June 14, at 6:30 p.m., at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, at 426 W. Gay St.