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.”