LEAGUE CITY — Voters on League City’s website overwhelmingly support plans for the city to build a dog park. Whether the online poll truly reflects the wishes of city residents is debatable.

As of the weekend more than 86 percent of those who participated in the simple online poll say they think the city should build a $200,000 dog park on land next to the new police station-public safety building. The poll does not indicate how many people have cast votes.

While they come in various shapes and sizes, dog parks are often fenced areas that allow dog owners to let their canines run free without a leash and interact with other dogs.

The new online poll was launched after Councilman Andy Mann gave new life to the proposal. Council looked into building a dog park four years ago, but killed the idea when a parks priority survey ranked a dog park at No. 22 of 25 top priorities.

Mann said he was encouraged by the results of the latest poll, even though it’s not scientific.

“I can’t remember the last time we asked for public input on anything, whether it was scientific or unscientific,” Mann said. “This is something the citizens apparently want. As long as I am (on council) I am going to continue to explore it.”

Funding for the construction would come from the city’s dedicated park fund, which cannot be used for projects other than park enhancements or construction, Mann said.

City spokeswoman Kristi Wyatt said the city was unable to determine how many people who took part in the poll actually live in the city. She also did not know how many people had voted since the poll was launched last week.

There’s also no way to determine if people used different computers to vote more than once.

In the city online poll, 86.3 percent said “yes,” 11.7 percent said “no,” while 2.1 percent cast a “maybe” vote.

The city’s poll reflects similar results to an online poll The Daily News posted on April 10. In the Daily News poll, 84 percent of those who participated voted in favor of the city building a dog park.

The Daily News’ poll drew responses from across the county and not just League City residents.

While it is not clear if he voted in the city’s poll, count Councilman Dan Becker as one of the 11.7 percent opposed. On the night Mann pitched the dog park proposal, Becker vowed to oppose its construction.

Becker did not respond to The Daily News about the results of the online poll.

Mann said he isn’t concerned about opposition.

“It comes down to what the citizens are willing to do,” Mann said. “I’m only one vote (on council) and will try to work with staff to develop (the park plan).

“I will say this, of the people (on council) who are opposed, almost all of them asked for more information and we are going to provide them with more information so they can make an informed choice. “

Wyatt the city is developing a more detailed survey that would include the dog park and other possible projects to determine how much favor there is among city residents.

Still, interest is high, even from those not in the city.

Fred Swerdlin, the president of BARK9, a pro-dog park advocacy group in Houston, pledged his group’s support to help the city design the park.

The group assisted in the construction of a 5.3-acre dog park in Pasadena five years ago and offered to help League City before council sent the idea to the doghouse four years ago.

He said his group is ready to assist again.

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or tjaulds@galvnews.com.


Bark for a Park?

League City online poll

Should League City construct a $200,000 dog park?

Yes: 86.3 percent

No: 11.7 percent

Maybe: 2.1 percent

*As of Sunday afternoon

Daily News online poll

Yes: 84.2 percent

No: 15.8 percent

(4) comments

Mick Phalen

What a farce of a "scientific poll" - - - "We don't know how many people voted, or where they live, but 86% of them want a dog park" (12 divided by 14 equals 86%). But I will wager that 100% are dog owners.

City Council and City staff should be ashamed at conducting, then publishing, such a lack of objectivity and transparency. Councilman Mann always demands that "the process" be followed ...maybe the "process" should include an element of fairness. Must be an election around the corner. What is the next special interest group that will demand "their share" from this Council?

And a special thanks to Mr. Swerdlin and BARK9 (a pro-dog park advocacy group in Houston) for volunteering to help LC spend our money.

There is no way this dog park will cost taxpayers "only" $200,000.

Mick Phalen

The most representative, transparent Council ever.

Councilman Mann: "I can’t remember the last time we asked for public input on anything" - - - that would be sometime before the 2012 election.

optimistic1

I don't know of that many dog owners in LC, and I've been here for 30 years. I propose that instead, use this land and park fund for a fitness park for all citizens instead of a dog park for a few. Texas City has had this at their Nessler Park/Lowry Center since the '70's.
"LifeTrail" fitness parks can be used by everyone from small children to the elderly. The equipment is simple, sturdy playground equipment, but made for exercising and workout. League City residents would probably welcome this a lot more than the dog park that has already been rejected by the voters.

Chuck DiFalco

optimistic1, I want to give you credit for understanding the tradeoff. The issue is one use of League City park fund money versus another use for parks. Too many (other) people forget municipal governance 101.

A cat lover, I have no dog in this fight :-)

--Chuck DiFalco

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