But it could take time – and considerable dollars.
A recently released preliminary estimate of costs for improving both the large- and small-dog areas of Capehart at 4747 Soledad Mountain Road were pegged by the City at about $612,000.
“The City is in the preliminary stages of developing a potential project scope for improvements to Capehart Dog Park,” said City spokesman Tim Graham. “The community is very interested in having the area improved, and we’ve been working with Marcella Bothwell to find a design that will meet the community’s wishes.”
Bothwell, a physician, community volunteer and San Diego Park and Recreation Board member who owns four dogs, said improvements to the popular dog park near the PB-La Jolla border are long overdue.
“The community recognizes the need for creating more dog parks, and for maintenance of the dog parks that we have,” said Bothwell, noting the City’s preliminary plan is “reasonable, but very expensive.”
Bothwell said improving Capehart must go through the Public Works Department. “It’s a capital improvement project,” she said.
“The plan is currently unfunded,” pointed out Graham, adding, “Unfortunately, at this particular time, it’s a little early to provide an update that has concrete next steps.”
It's been a dozen years since Capehart won out over Kate Sessions to become Pacific Beach’s only off-leash dog park. But due to continuing drought conditions and watering restrictions, as well as heavy usage by dogs large and small, Capehart's two separate fenced-in areas have both been almost completely denuded of turf. And the dog park suffers from erosion and other issues.
“The major problem is the large dog park,” said Bothwell. “It was never graded properly. So now, when it rains, water runoff goes down and you lose all the topsoil in the large dog area which has a huge drainage problem.”
There is another big problem.
“It’s going to cost as much to repair [Capehart] as it cost to put it in in the first place in 2006,” said Bothwell, who has stepped up to guide Capehart improvements. Preliminary work for dog-park improvements was originally spearheaded by beach-area residents Ron McChesney and Chris Cott, who formed Friends of Capehart Off-Leash Small Dog Park, as well as starting a GoFundMe fundraiser to re-sod Capehart.
A new plan overview prepared for Capehart improvements points out updates are necessary for dog health and safety, ADA improvements and the safety and comfort of residents who use the park.
“The goal is to have an approved ‘Master Improvement Plan’ containing a list of ‘agreed to projects’ that can be finalized as there is funding and resources available,” the new Capehart preliminary plan states, adding, “The plan will be posted at the park, linked to the Pacific Beach Town Council website and a Capehart Dog Park ‘email list.’”
Bothwell added a GoFundMe account will be put in place for donations toward City-approved projects listed.
“This effort is being coordinated through the Pacific Beach Town Council, and they have provided us with guidance, connections, and a non-profit/tax-deductible fundraising vehicle on their website to perform some of the work,” said Bothwell.
“It is planned that this will be a public/private partnership between the City of San Diego, San Diego Parks and Recreation, the Capehart Dog Park (a subcommittee within the Pacific Beach Town Council) and patrons of the park,” Bothwell said.
Bothwell added recognition signage will be evaluated for large Capehart Park-improvement donors.
The Capehart link to the town council is at pbtowncouncil.org/about/capehart-dog-park/.