Cain Park dog-walking pilot project set to begin pending city council approval
The Dog Project Committee of the Cain Park Neighborhood Association is set to begin a one-year, leashed-dog pilot program in Cain Park in April, pending approval by Cleveland Heights City Council.
The committee formed to work toward the Cain Park Neighborhood Association’s goals of helping to keep Cain Park safe and encourage more neighborhood activities in the park. Members hope lifting the dog ban will bring more foot traffic to the park. The group’s multifaceted approach also includes efforts addressing abandoned and foreclosed properties bordering the park, and organizing family activities, such as picnicking, kite flying and sledding.
“Dog owners think of their pets as part of their family,” said Hannah Baldwin, Dog Project Committee member. “Dogwalking will increase activity in the park on a daily basis. It will put more eyes on the street and make the park safer for everyone.”
"We've met with city staff, and council is due to vote on it in February," she said.
Baldwin said the committee seeks to educate dog owners about their responsibilities to ensure that they respect the rights of those who don’t own dogs or are afraid of them. “Dogs must be leashed,” said Baldwin, “They won’t be allowed by children’s play areas, and they must be picked-up after. These are the same courtesies that you observe when walking your dog on city streets, and we want to make sure that residents understand that it is essential to follow these rules, for everyone’s safety.”
The committee conducted a survey of Cleveland Heights residents in 2012 and met with city officials to discuss their findings and formulate plans for a pilot project. The pilot project would require new legislation to amend laws passed in the 1970s prohibiting dog walking in all Cleveland Heights parks.
The committee plans to place four stations within the park to hold biodegradable dog waste bags and to post signs reminding dogowners of their responsibilities. The committee is seeking volunteers to help replenish the bags and to assist in maintaining the project’s website. For more information, contact the project’s volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 440-478-6226.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.