Updated: Klauer dog park incites broader debate

A walker leads her dog down the path during a fun run at Granite Rock near Hollister.

Hollister City Council members in a 3-1 vote Tuesday approved allocating $25,000 to establish dog facilities at Klauer Park, but the officials’ talk on that location evolved into a conversation about addressing other parks as well.
The move at Klauer Park will make the city property, on Beverly Drive in the Sunnyslope Village subdivision of the southeast side, an official dog park years after locals started informally using it for canines.
The item for the $25,000 was on the consent agenda for the 6:30 p.m. meeting at Hollister City Hall, but was pulled for discussion. Incidentally, Councilman Karson Klauer, whose family name is honored at the park, was unable to attend the meeting.
With the money, the council agenda report says minor repairs are needed to the drainage basin at the park. The City of Hollister also underwent alterations to build a dog park at the municipal airport in the early part of the decade. With Klauer Park, there would be two official dog parks in Hollister, though residents tend to bring their dogs to other parks, too.
Councilwoman Mickie Luna mentioned how she pulled the item from the consent agenda.
“I appreciate the fact that we do have dog parks and I do want to remind everyone that we are still working on parks in the community,” Luna said. “I know that on the west side, there is still a need to fill.”
Luna requested a report at the next council meeting from parks official Mike Chambless regarding planned upgrades at Calaveras and McCarthy parks on the west side.
She and other officials discussed improvements already made to an array of city parks over the past couple of years, including the recent installation of a large playground structure at Park Hill. Park improvements as a whole have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they’re investments for which council members Tuesday reiterated support.
Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said he wanted to remind officials the city is upgrading all city parks as part of a commitment officials made.
“Because the public deserves them,” Velazquez said. “Hopefully by the end of this year, we’ll have all those parks completed.”
The one council member against the dog park spending was Ray Friend. He represents District 1, which includes Park Hill.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to spend $25,000 on a dog park when we still have a park like Park Hill that doesn’t even have restroom facilities,” Friend said.
Councilman Victor Gomez, on the other hand, represents District 4 where Klauer Park is situated.
“The park is already developed,” Gomez said. “It’s not like this park is going through an overhaul.”
He said he wants to continue investing in local parks.
“In no way are we spending $25,000 and somehow punting other projects out there,” he said.

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