Chasing Tails

Dogs and their owners sniff around at Seaside’s Pacchetti Park.

Ten humans lead their panting pets to Pacchetti Park on a sunny afternoon. Several years ago, Seaside City Council designated this dusty, 1.7-acre plot on Seaside’s Kimball Avenue and Noche Buena Street as an off-leash dog park.

But it still isn’t.

The park is one side short of full enclosure, rendering it fairly useless as a space for off-leash dogs.

“It’s like a table with three legs,” says Judy Pashow of Carmel, one of the dog owners meeting here. The others nod.

Without fencing along Noche Buena, some people have been letting their pups loose instead in the neighboring Del Rey Woods Elementary soccer field.

Now, as school officials prepare to close off the de-facto doggie playground, a citizen committee is reviving the grassroots effort to develop Pacchetti into a proper dog park.

Seaside Councilman Dennis Alexander has been involved from the start. When City Council designated Pacchetti as a dog park, he says, it convened a committee to handle the details. But the effort stalled when key members moved away.

WITHOUT FULL FENCING, “IT’S LIKE A TABLE WITH THREE LEGS.”

Kelsie Howe cradles her Yorkie, Shmoe, while Australian shepherd Story waits on a leash. Howe says that for years, she and about two dozen neighbors owners have been holding pup playdates on the school field after school hours.

But that’s going to have to stop soon.

Del Rey Woods Principal Ramiro Reyes spoke at the Sept. 18 Seaside City Council meeting, saying Monterey Peninsula Unified School District is going to start enforcing its policy banning pets on school fields. He encouraged city officials to do something about the fencing issue at Pacchetti so dogs can run free there instead.

Howe says the first two steps – having the city designate the dog park, and forming a nonprofit to raise grant funding – are done. The group has also launched a website,www.seasidedogpark.com.

The next step, she says, is to raise about $17,000 to complete the fence along Noche Buena. Then the committee can move on to ground cover, a water spout and picnic tables.

Alexander says Friends of Seaside Parks, an umbrella nonprofit repping various neighborhood park associations, will apply for grants from entities like the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Community Foundation for Monterey County and Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District.

About 20 people showed up at a community meeting he attended last summer. He sums up their sentiment by email: “Seaside REALLY wants to have a functioning dog park.”

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(1) comment

Anita Madison

A lot of the dog owners/lovers in this Seaside neighborhood have worked long and hard to have this privilege of having a SAFE place for our dogs to run, socialize and get excersise like dogs should. The major group that goes to the school after school is let out, pick up trash left behind by others using the school, scoop poop that is not ours, bring extra plastic bags for anyone needing one to clean up after their dog, supply Large garbage bags for all garbage trying to keep this privilege. We have shared this field with soccer players, baseball players, softball players and squash player. Until the recent few weeks we have ALL gotten along. It seems that their is only one person that seems to be the problem that is ruining a good neighborhood activity for dogs and humans alike! It is really sad to see this coming to an end because of someone that uses the field for approximately 2 months out of the whole year.
Additionally the soccer couch that is causing this animosity leaves her goals up on the field where ALL the other teams take theirs down EVERY day. One grandchild had the goal tip over on his head and he was rushed to the emergency room and received 4 staples in his head! Now who's NOT responsible! I'm just not seeing how this is fair to so many trying so hard to make things work in the community!

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