McKenzie eyed for dog park: LAH native pushes idea at Saturday meet-and-greet

Catherine Stansbury
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Catherine Stansbury plans to host a meet-and-greet Saturday to promote the idea of a fenced-in dog area at McKenzie Park.

Stalled in her previous efforts to establish a dog park at Lincoln Park in Los Altos, dog enthusiast and former Los Altos Hills resident Catherine Stansbury is now championing a fenced-in space for canines at McKenzie Park.

She is scheduled to host a meet-and-greet event to promote the idea 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the park, 707 Fremont Ave. in Los Altos.

“I will be getting petition signatures showing the new space to everyone for the proposed new dog park,” she said. “Pet’s Delight pet store (in downtown Los Altos) will be there to support. What I hope to accomplish is I can get a lot of awareness (and) get everyone excited for the new dog park in Los Altos.”

Not sanctioned by the city, Stansbury’s event comes on the heels of the Parks and Recreation Commission’s April 10 recommendation for a fenced-in dog park at McKenzie, in an area between the tennis courts and the street. A commission subcommittee concluded McKenzie is the best location for the dog park.

Stansbury, who has trained dogs for most of her life, is hoping public interest will drive eventual approval from the city council.

Although now residing in San Martin, she regularly visits the area, where a parent still lives. She has been advocating for a dog park for nearly three years.

“I love dogs, dog parks for the dogs and families,” said Stansbury, who envisions a small enclosure – 6,000-7,000 square feet – for dogs of all sizes.

Elements could include a water station, benches, a pet station containing disposal bags and chain-link fencing.

Stansbury said her motivation is simple: “My love for dogs is over the top. … I love to design dog parks. (McKenzie) Park is shaded with the redwood trees, so it’s nice to have shade on those hot days.”

Approval process

Any dog park proposal is subject to the city of Los Altos’ public approval process. How and if plans materialize depends on feedback from residents and city officials.

However, independent of Stansbury, Parks and Recreation commissioners have been moving forward with the dog park idea. Members of a dog park subcommittee met in January to consider a space at McKenzie with benches, tables and a climbing play structure that is separated from a large green space and children’s play structures located on the other side of the neighboring city Maintenance Service yard.

A subcommittee report given at the April 10 commission meeting noted that 83.2 percent of residents participating in a recent survey favored a fenced-in dog park. “Hard numbers,” the subcommittee said, backed this interest: Local animal control officials tally 3,800 active dog licenses in Los Altos.

“So far, this is just a recommendation from the commission to the council,” said Manny Hernandez, the city’s director of municipal services. “This is not a project. Staff needs to still come up with a general idea of what this would look like and cost before it is even considered by council.”

In the meantime, Stansbury continues to be supportive by hosting her own event.

“When you’re passionate about a cause, the motivation is easy. You just do it,” she said.

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