The City of Pasadena and the Playhouse Village Association have announced the Grand Opening of Playhouse Village Park, to be held Saturday, September 17, 2022.* A warm welcome has been extended to dogs and their human companions, who are invited to join the festivities at 10:00 am (following ribbon-cutting and speeches that begin at 9:00 am.)
By Deborah Dentler
The new park includes several features attractive to dog-lovers: separate off-leash dog runs for small and large dogs, pet waste stations, and more.
Dog-friendly features were incorporated into the park’s design after changes were suggested by area residents who asked for shaded pathways, waste bag and water stations, and play space for pets to frolic and socialize. There are more dogs than young children living in the dense downtown Pasadena area, advocates pointed out, but no off-leash dog parks within walking distance. Could Playhouse Village Park be part of the solution?
At first, I was a skeptic. The park was to be tucked into a lot less than an acre in size, surrounded by commercial and residential development. A portion of the parcel was slated for car parking, the result of a compromise reached with business interests. Cars, kids, seniors, and workers on their lunch breaks, all utilizing the space… where could dogs safely play?
Then City staff took me and other members of the park’s Stakeholder Committee on an outing that opened my eyes. We toured several successful dog-friendly parks nestled into urban residential and commercial neighborhoods around L.A. County. The best of these parks offered separate areas for large and smaller dogs, were well-regulated, and kept meticulously clean. Not only pet owners, but also seniors and young families, enjoyed socializing near dog play areas.
The dog park tour convinced me that dog-welcoming features incorporated into a park’s design can bring vitality and joy to urban neighborhoods.
My dog-owning days are behind me, but I haven’t forgotten the late nights my husband would walk our aged family dog, a sheltie named Tess, down our block of Oak Knoll Avenue. Tess would do some desultory sniffing around weeds pushing up through the cracked concrete surfaces of the old Banner Bank and an adjacent municipal parking lot, before slowly limping home.
The other night my husband went out after dark, dogless now, and snapped a photo. “Wouldn’t Tess have loved this park!” I thought.
I recently asked our grandkids, Clara and Silas Segall, to tell me what their French bulldog is most looking forward to about Playhouse Village Park. “If he could talk,” Clara told me, “He’d say he’s excited to meet other dogs and watch his human family play on the playground.”
My neighbor Greg Tomkiel shared that he is most looking forward to sitting on a shaded bench sipping coffee with his rescue pup, Gilda, at his feet.
Doris and Alice, whose little dog Sparky spent the pandemic racing up and down the living room of their condo, are looking forward to having a new destination for dog walks. Opening day can’t come soon enough for Sparky.
Grab that leash and bring your furry friend to Playhouse Village Park, 701 E. Union, Pasadena 91101, on Saturday September 10 at 10:00 am.
And remember to say thanks (or WOOF) to construction workers and City staff when you see them. They’ve been working like dogs to build a great park.
*The Grand Opening of Playhouse Village Park in Pasadena this Saturday, 9/10 has been postponed to 9/17 at 9:00 am due to inclement weather anticipated for this weekend.
[This article has been updated to include a new date for the Grand Opening Ceremony. Sept. 8, 1:40 pm.]
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