DOG PARK RESOLUTION

On April 28, 2022, the Board of Preserve Burnet Woods unanimously voted to approve the following resolution on construction of a dog park in Burnet Woods. This resolution follows almost 2 years of discussions amongst the Cincinnati Park Board regarding an initial request from members of the Clifton community to construct a dog park in Dunore Park. 

EMAIL THE PARK BOARD: cincy.parks@cincinnati-oh.gov  It is recommended that emails to the Park Board be made as Public Comments and follow Public Comment guidelines.

RESOLUTION.PDF HERE  inclusive of links and attachments.

RESOLUTION TEXT:

RESOLUTION OF THE PRESERVE BURNET WOODS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
RE: BURNET WOODS DOG PARK
April 28, 2022

WHEREAS it is the mission of Preserve Burnet Woods to “protect, promote, celebrate and sustain Burnet Woods as a community-supported greenspace and urban oasis”; and

WHEREAS the Board of Park Commissioners has continued to advance development of a dog park in Burnet Woods, outside the scope of the Master Plan for Burnet Woods, and not originally requested for Burnet Woods, citing community desire as their driving force for doing so; and

WHEREAS Burnet Woods is within the neighborhood boundaries of Corryville, Clifton Heights-University Heights-Fairview Neighborhood Association (CUF) and Clifton; and

WHEREAS, after results of a Cincinnati Parks survey specific to a dog park in Dunore Park were presented to the Board of Park Commissioners on April 15, 2021, Parks staff was directed to develop a short list of sites, begin further community engagement, develop a timeline and return with a staff recommendation “if and where a dog park should be placed” relative to a dog park in Clifton; and

  • the community-elected councils of Corryville, CUF, and Clifton have issued correspondence asking the Board of Park Commissioners to step back from the decision to put a dog park in Burnet Woods in the spirit of gathering better community engagement, gathering better supporting data for the siting of a dog park within the tri-community space, considering an equitable distribution of amenities within the city park system, and considering how to utilize
    dog park projects as opportunities to expand greenspace rather than degrade ecology of existing greenspace (Thomas, 10 12 2021, 2:14:46); and
  • the Burnet Woods Park Advisory Council (BPAC), as the Burnet Woods community liaison with Cincinnati Parks, has requested that the Board of Park Commissioners step back from constructing a dog park in Burnet Woods for reasons similar to Corryville, CUF and Clifton community councils (Goetz, 10 12 2021, 2:11:25); and
  • neighborhood residents who live adjacent to and would be most impacted by the proposed site, and any future expansion of the site (Lindner, 08 19 2021, 31:04), (Kish, 08 19 2021, 35:13), in Burnet Woods have issued their own petition against the dog park to the Board of Park Commissioners; and
  • these neighborhood residents have right to the same considerations which the Park Board extended the residents surrounding Dunore Park, who expressed concern of a dog park being located close to their homes (Thomas, 04 15 2021, 35:10), (North, 07 15 2021, 1:23:23); and
  • the Board of Park Commissioners have previously evaluated 2 different petitions with more than 3,000 signatures each, relative to specific developments in Burnet Woods, as a “loud minority” (Castellini, 12 17 2020, 50:54), (Kish, 12 17 2020, 1:26:10); and
  • the Clifton community petition in favor of a neighborhood dog park has been dormant for 6 months and has garnered fewer than 300 signatures; and
  • under these conditions, it is impossible to assess that the dog park location being sited to Burnet Woods is community-supported; and

WHEREAS, documentation provided by Park staff as part of the site criteria and recommendations for a dog park in Clifton erroneously showed Burnet Woods as the center of Clifton, and this central location was stated as a decision-making factor for the Commissioners (Lindner, 07 15 2021, 1:24:51), (Lindner, 07 15 2021, 1:37:25); and

  • Burnet Woods is on the far Southeast corner of Clifton, beyond the range of a 10-minute walk for many Clifton residents (Trust for Public Land, 04 2022), and there are city parks more central to Clifton residents which do not exhibit the diverse habitat of Burnet Woods; and
  • Park Board Commissioners have acknowledged the validity of the Trust for Public Land study as a guide in considering future Cincinnati Parks actions in serving communities ((Thomas, 01 20 2022, 1:34:30)
  • no other location in Burnet Woods is free from usage or flooding concern (North, 07 15 2021, 1:23:23), (North, 07 15 2021, 1:39:22), (Mullaney, 03 11 20, 43:43), or does not represent a significant community green gateway (Thomas, 07 15 2021, 01:27:40); and
  • there are significant infrastructure concerns in Burnet Woods and across the park system which have been set aside for lack of funding, lack of staffing, or at specific direction of the Board (Goetz, Dec 2 2020, 20:35), (Goetz, 12 2 2020, 1:51:29), (Goetz, 12 2 2020, 2:01:00), (North, 04 15 2021,28:48), (Lindner, 04 15 2021, 30:04), (Neyer, 02 17 2022, 1:25:54), (North, 10 12 2021, 1:4213); and
  • there are significant Master Plan beautification, capital enhancement, and activation projects which would benefit all park users and which have not been considered as higher priority for Burnet Woods than a dog park, including but not limited to:
    (Source: 12 02 2020 Attachment A—FY 2022/2023 Recommended Capital Budget)
    – Burnet Woods ‐ Road Removal at Bandstand and Lake/Brookline $ 261,000.00 per
    12/2/2020 special infrastructure report.
    – Burnet Woods ‐ Millionaires Club ADA path to playset $9,000 (work completed but did not include an ADA path to the restroom at Millionaires Club immediately adjacent to the playset or ADA restroom conversion)
    – Burnet Woods ‐ Clifton/ MLK ‐ Resurface road $ 1,092,000.00
    – Burnet Woods ‐ Brookline ‐ Resurface road $ 221,000.00                                           – Burnet Woods ‐ Repaint light poles $ 14,000.00 (partially completed though missing light post not replaced and rebar left sticking up in its absence)
  • A dog park for Burnet Woods/Clifton parks was not included on the Community Budget Requests submitted to the City of Cincinnati and reviewed by Parks Staff for the FY 2022 and 2023 Recommended Capital Budget; and

WHEREAS the Board of Park Commissioners expressed the need for a wholistic plan for Burnet Woods before moving forward with any more development proposals in Burnet Woods after the Board decision on the Clifton Cultural Arts Center in Burnet Wood (Jan 2019); and

  • the Board of Park Commissioners have previously expressed the need to consider equitable provision for and distribution of park capital and amenities among city parks, specifically to ensure underserved communities are not overlooked in access to quality parks (Goetz, Dec 2 2020, 1:29:20), (Thomas, 12 2 2020, 1:53:02), (Oct 2021 Strategic Planning Session), (North, 01 20 2022, 1:17:30); and
  • there has been no updated wholistic plan developed for Burnet Woods or shared with the public since the Commissioners statements; and
  • there is no plan for equitable distribution of dog parks across the city park system (North, 01 20 2022, 1:17:30); and
  • Cincinnati Parks has not responded to the request for environmental impact information specific to the proposed dog park made by Preserve Burnet Woods; and

WHEREAS Preserve Burnet Woods has concern about the impact to the tree canopy by the creation of a turf and concrete heat island underneath the canopy (Castellini, 06 17 2021, 1:58:46), the fecal runoff directly above and into the combined sewer system which has been documented as flooding the park Valley Area and Valley Shelter, the potential of PFAS leakage from synthetic turf into the Burnet Woods Valley and Lake below the potential dog park location, the impact of dog urine on soil chemistry (Allen et al., 2020), the impact of dog-urine nutrient fertilization on ecosystems (De Frenne et al., 2021), and zoonotic and public health risks associated with canine helminth eggs (Simonato et al., 2019), the lack of funding to maintain the dog park beyond its initial creation, and the heavy reliance on volunteers which Cincinnati Parks already requires to maintain basic cleanliness, activation and habitat in its parks without the additional encumbrance of new amenities that are not community-supported; and

WHEREAS it is a reasonable expectation that the Board of Park Commissioners would allow criteria for a dog park requested from, and created by, its paid professional staff guide their judgement in pointing to a site that is best suited to minimize habitat disruption and be economically implemented (Goetz, 12 17 2020, 1:18:58), (Kish & Board, 07 15 2021, 1:19:35); and

  • staff recommendation identified sites more favorable than Burnet Woods Park, the Board of Park Commissioners affirmed that the MLK site was preferred by the community feedback, and
  • almost one year has already lapsed in the two-year timeline barrier to that site listed by the Park Board (Goetz, 07 15 2021, 1:32:33), (Goetz, 08 19 2021, 32:24); and
  • there is no urgency for public health or safety inherent in installation of a dog park; and
  • the Board of Park Commissioners were not provided sound available data points such as population density of surrounding communities to best serve the most people or number of required Hamilton County dog licenses issued to surrounding community zip codes to best serve the greatest number of dogs, and so applied subjective non-scientific methods (Lindner, 07 15 2021, 01:26:28), (Goetz, 07 15 2021, 1:36:26), (Lindner & Kish, 08 19 2021, 20:16), (Lindner, 08 19 2021, 31:04); and

WHEREAS it is reasonable that the people of Cincinnati expect the Board of Park Commissioners continue to follow the 20-year Master Plan developed in 2007 for the revival of the city park system as a whole until such time as a new plan is developed in concert with community engagement best practices (Goetz, 12 17 2020, 2:54:47); and

  • it is reasonable that the people of Cincinnati expect the Board of Park Commissioners to act for parks without undue favoritism for their personal friendships in the expenditure of public dollars, paid park staff allocations, and development of park property above the advice of professional staff and broader public interest (Goetz, 12 2 2020, 1:57:32), (Goetz, 12 17 2020,
    1:08:17), (Goetz, 07 15 2021, 1:25:42).

THEREFORE, Preserve Burnet Woods joins its voice, as an advocate for and volunteer presence in Burnet Woods Park, with Corryville, CUF and Clifton community councils, and the Burnet Woods Park Advisory Council in asking the Board of Park Commissioners to step back from its decision to put a dog park in Burnet Woods; and

Further asks that the Board of Park Commissioners discontinue pursuit of projects in Burnet Woods which are not aligned with the Master Plan (or a future wholistic plan for Burnet Woods developed in concert with the multiple communities and their councils surrounding the park); and

Further asks that the Board of Park Commissioners prioritize first with available funding, projects in Burnet Woods which are immediate infrastructure concerns for public safety or projects contained in the 2007 Master Plan (or a future wholistic plan for Burnet Woods developed in concert with the multiple communities and their councils surrounding the park); and

Further asks that the Board of Park Commissioners look to the existing amenities in the Cincinnati parks system with an eye towards equitable investment and enhancement among our communities as part of developing a future wholistic plan for Cincinnati Parks and Burnet Woods Park.

Unanimously approved by
The Preserve Burnet Woods Board of Directors
April 28, 2022

History: Burnet Woods is historically significant with the original park area purchased by the city in 1872 and 1881. It is 90 acres, approximately 50% of its original size. The southern half was acquired by the University of Cincinnati and developed into what we now know as that university. The most recent loss of parkland occurred in 1950 when the University obtained 18 additional acres. Due to its commercially desirable location between the University of Cincinnati, three local business districts and multiple hospitals, Burnet Woods has been subject to numerous proposals to develop the woods for both profit and non-profit purpose. After cutting Burnet Woods in half for benefit of the UC, the Cincinnati Park Board has historically protected the remaining 89.3 acres of Burnet Woods from further encroachment, recognizing it as critical to the quality of the surrounding communities. The construction of a turf and concrete dog park in Burnet Woods will be the third development/construction proposal which the Park Board has considered in the last 4 years. 

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