Push to make informal dog park in Robert L. Burns Park official

| July 1, 2021 | 0 Comments

SOME NEIGHBORS are hoping to open a dog park in Robert L. Burns Park.

Several months ago, Larchmont Village resident Michael Knowles and his family adopted a rescue puppy named Tuesday. And like most good dog owners, Knowles wanted to locate a local dog park for Tuesday to enjoy. He didn’t find much. 

The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks lists 12 dog parks spread across the city, but none is located near Larchmont. The two closest dog parks are in Runyon Canyon and Silver Lake.

Having lived in the neighborhood for the past nine years, Knowles could recall residents regularly playing with their dogs in Robert L. Burns Park, located in Windsor Square on the corner of Van Ness Avenue and Beverly Boulevard. “It seems like the back area of the park has been used as a dog area for  years. I used to bring my son when he was a baby, and we’d watch the dogs play,” Knowles told the Chronicle last month.

After chatting with some other dog owners at the park, Knowles learned that many residents have used the park as a de facto dog park for years. “Why not add a fence to a small section of the park and make it official?” wondered Knowles.

To start the process, Knowles took to social media site Nextdoor to gauge the community’s support. Within days, more than 50 comments were posted.

“I’d love to see that happen. There is nothing like that around here,” said Windsor Square resident Kathleen Losey. “This would be fab… would add so much to the area,” said Windsor Square resident Cheryl Faber.

Encouraged by the support, Knowles set up a petition and asked the community to sign. “This is a win-win for everyone in the neighborhood,” read the petition, which has so far received 84 signatures.

Knowles says that he took the idea, and petition, to Councilmember Raman’s office. “I finally got in touch with the field deputy, Su In Lee, and we traded a few emails, but I could tell it was not a high priority,” said Knowles. First, Raman’s office told him to petition the Parks Department with the idea, which Knowles did. But then Raman’s office told him he would need to prove community support, and they advised him to contact Gary Gilbert, who represents Windsor Square on the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. The two men talked, but there were more questions than answers. That was in March. 

The Chronicle followed up with Gilbert last month on the issue. Gilbert told us that he thought the idea was interesting, noting how he also has witnessed the park’s current use as a de facto dog park, but he was sober about the prospects. “I can remember that this idea was proposed by a resident not that long ago, and when it was discussed at a meeting, everyone that showed up was against it. So I felt like some research was needed to find out why there was opposition,” said Gilbert. At that point he could take the idea to the Windsor Square Association, of which he is a board member.

Following our conversation, Gilbert contacted Councilmember Raman’s office to renew the discussion and request how to get information from the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Your thoughts?   

If you support — or oppose — the idea, residents are invited to contact Raman staffer Su In Lee at 213-473-7004 or suin.lee@lacity.org

“I think the only way there’s going to be any action, is if hundreds of residents contact Councilmember Raman’s office,” said Knowles.

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