Problems Plague Popular Natomas Pooch Park

Special to Natomas Buzz
This past Saturday, Natomas dog owners took up shovels, rakes and buckets to temporary fix a problem ignored by the City of Sacramento for several months.
On Sept. 9, 2009 the Natomas area was given a beautiful two-acre dog park. The open landscape with newly planted trees was thoroughly enjoyed by all, whether two legged or four.
Unfortunately, a design flaw in a small portion of the park immediately became apparent. One section is lower than any other portion of the park and without proper drainage it quickly became a muddy mess. The issue was reported to the city less than two weeks from the opening of the park on Sept. 18. Since that time no resolution has been offered by the city.
In the past nine months, Natomas dog owners have patiently waited for a resolution. They have tried temporary barriers, which within two weeks were taken down by the city. Owners tried placing orange construction cones within the puddle which restricted rolling in the mud, but not from running through or ingesting it. The city once again had those taken down.
Offers of materials and manpower if that was what was needed to resolve this issue went unanswered.
As spring approached the standing water became home to countless mosquitoes. Sharing mosquito repellent with new comers became a common practice. Although somewhat frustrating, dog owners were willing to succumb to having to wash their pets after visiting the dog park and the irritating mosquito bites. The last straw was when our dogs started getting ill.
A large section of the park where the dogs “do their business” runs off into the puddle. It was upon hearing that dogs were developing Giardia, the owners felt it was time to take matters into their own hands.
Equipped with what they could find in their own garages, they came up with a rudimentary solution. How long will this continue before the city removes the fencing once again?

Elsewhere in the park there are sections dying off because of lack of water. Sprinklers have been broken for months, although tagged for repair by the city in March. Geysers of water erupt in the morning right next to sections of grass that have died. Other sections have the sprinklers poorly adjusted so only small sections get watered, leaving brown patches.

Is there anyone in the community that knows landscaping that might be able to help us?
I am grateful that I live in a city that is willing to include our pets in new construction and I understand there are budget cuts across the board and resources and staffing are limited. Yet with a group of dedicated volunteers willing to dig and provide whatever is necessary to help, why does the city allow this to continue?


  1. The city allowed the developers to put houses on postage-stamp sized lots because infrastructure was promised – lots of parks, playgrounds, and places to take our pets.

    Policies then went into effect that stopped weed control, maintenance, and any other than the most rudimentary upkeep. “Park Ambassadors” were solicited to help rally the users of these parks and help do the work the City had promised.

    Yet, legal and union BS stands in the way of turning things over into the hands of the citizens and giving the access to equipment and the ability to make repairs.

    The park workers are doing the best they can with what they have left. The City and our council and mayor and manager got caught up in the mess called the revenue collapse. But, all of that isn’t solving the problem. The new Council will need to take a hard look at letting volunteers have a freer hand and the ability to work directly with city officials to do what needs to be done to keep our parks viable.

    Angela – you listening?

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