Despite the park's praised reputation as a boundless off-leash dog park and enhanced adult recreation emporium, a lone neighbor wants to further delay Dolores Park's already drawn-out renovation project. For The Children.
According to an appeal filed last week by Dr. Claudia Praetel, the planned two off-leash dog play areas “are by no means acceptable to many families with school-aged children who are using this park.” She elaborates:
Serious concern for loss of open space for children: Dolores Park is adjacent to 2 schools and has more than 8 other schools near by - desperate need for open space for children to run and play in order to stem childhood obesity pandemic.
The Mission has a very high to higher density of children aged 6-12 per net acre, a large park with open space is paramount to their healthy development in an inner city setting, were other parks may not be accessible to them.
That's right, with dozens of pugs let loose across the park, our so-called future won't have space to beat back their looming rotundity. The only way to spare their waistlines is to hold up the entire park renovation.
Or, at least, that's the claim.
The appeal is willfully oblivious to the park's current popularity—as if blocking the renovation and a second “legal” off-leash dog area with it will magically disperse the hundreds of adultish people littered about daily. But even so, no matter how wildly absurd the protest is, the city has to take it seriously.
“Unfortunately, right before the deadline, an appeal was filed of the Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Dolores Park project,” a legislative aide to Supervisor Wiener wrote Friday. “This triggers a hearing at the Planning Commission and could delay consideration of the project by the Recreation and Parks Commission. A further appeal is then possible to the Board of Supervisors.”
What's even worse is this loner appellant could effectively derail the community-driven consensus redesign process; one that involved dozens—if not hundreds—of park users over the course of two years, specifically to avoid leaving anyone out.
“Did we not have an exhaustive community process to try and settle this? Now 'a concerned citizen' will hold up the much needed and truly vetted Dolores Park renovation,” Robert Burst, co-founder of Dolores Park Works, told us.
“This is not democracy, it's harassment.”
Below, the entirety of the appeal's text, for your amusement and grief:
[Photo by Niall Kennedy]