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Dogs rule: Board lays down the law at park

By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
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After little discussion Thursday, Auburn Recreation District Directors approved 4-1 a set of rules for the Ashley Memorial Dog Park. Some of the rules include: dog handlers must carry a leash, children under 15 years old must be supervised by an adult and all dogs must display a current license and be at least 6 months old. Director Gordon Ainsleigh voted no because he said he would like to see more rules listed on the park's sign. If someone leaves something in the park, these rules say we have to discard it, Ainsleigh said. What if it is valuable? I would like to see (the rule) read, ˜All personal/dog items must be removed when leaving the park or they will be discarded or otherwise disposed.' Ainsleigh also said he would like to see a clause prohibiting bicycles, skateboards and sports activities. Laura Pinnick, former president of the Ashley Memorial Dog Park Foundation, the organization partnering with ARD to build the park, said she and ARD staff were trying to condense the lengthy list of rules, which directors sparred over last month. We don't want boats in there either, Pinnick said. We are just trying to tighten up the rules. Directors unanimously approved the Ashley Memorial Dog Park's final site plan Nov. 29 and adopted a mitigated negative declaration for the project. The park is to be named in honor of Ashley Memorial Dog Park Foundation president Kathleen Harris' late daughter, Ashley Harris Haupt. Directors approved the dog park to be built on 3 acres at Auburn's Ashford Park off Auburn Ravine Road March 29. But dog park proponents scaled back plans back after they received several complaints from the public and directors unanimously approved the 1.7-acre boundary for the park at a May 31 meeting. The approved plan includes a walking path around the perimeter of the park, a 74-foot-by-54-foot man-made pond, dog waste stations and separate play areas for large and small dogs. Excavation, concrete and fencing work is currently being conducted on the site. Organizers expect phase one of the park could be complete by the end of May, at which point residents and their dogs could start using the park. Directors also approved Thursday night to send the district's memorandum of understanding with the dog park foundation back to the Program, Personnel, Policy and Fee Committee, which consists of director Jimmy Carroll, and Chairman Scott Holbrook, for revisions. The memorandum was drafted months ago before final plans for the park were drafted. Director Curt Smith suggested it be revised to reflect the park's new plans. In other business Thursday night, directors also voted 3-2 to move forward with an agreement between the district and Western Care Construction Company to offer 3 to 5 acres of wetlands mitigation at Regional Park in exchange for a trail and small parking area. Ainsleigh and Smith voted no because they thought more information on the project was needed. Western Care Construction is working with Placer County to build a continuing care retirement campus near the DeWitt Center in Auburn. The company approached ARD in its efforts to find off-site wetlands mitigation for the project. ARD estimates the value of each acre at $150,000. Western Care would pay approximately $285,000 to build the trail or ARD could decide to have the developer pay into a mitigation fund, and not build the trail. Directors are expected to vote on the plan at a future meeting. I think this is a great thing for the community, Carroll said. And I'm all for it. The Journal's Jenna Nielsen can be reached at jennan@goldcountrymedia.com or comment on this story at auburnjournal.com.