Dog Owners Barking Over Fiesta Island Development Plan
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The public is invited to weigh in tonight on the latest blueprint for the development of Fiesta Island. That's the nearly 500-acre man-made peninsula in Mission Bay. As KPBS Radio's Andrea Hsu reports, current users of the island are still not happy about the plans.
Dr Jean Spengel is a veterinarian. She's been working with the group Fiesta Island Dog Owners, in opposing plans to turn the man-made peninsula into a mixed-use regional park. Specifically, the group opposes the building of a road right through a piece of land she says is the only remaining large fenced area in San Diego where dogs can run free. She herself has been using the park for 30 years -- along with hundreds of other dog owners.
Spengel: They walk, they run, they bike the perimeter. It's a place where people can exercise with their dogs.
She says from a veterinarian's perspective, the contiguous space allows dogs to be socialized -- something that's not possible in most places.
Spengel: Of the 40,000 square acres of public park land in San Diego, if you exclude Fiesta Island, there are only 41 acres that are allotted to off-leash dog use. For the 700,000 dogs in San Diego County, that's not a lot.
But Mike Singleton, the principal architect of the project, says the current plan does leave dog users with 75 percent of what they have now.
Singleton: Majority of the island -- despite what people look at when they see the plan -- is going to be left the way it is. So it's just adding some additional capacity -fixing some environmental problems, improving water quality, adding a trail system -- more extensive trail system around the island. I think those are all things people will support.
He adds that Fiesta Island should be a playground for all of San Diego, including tourists. And that developing it will ease crowding at other parks on sunny, hot summer days.
For KPBS, I'm Andrea Hsu.
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