Pleasanton will open its second dog park in October, an off-leash, fenced-in park on a two-acre site at the Lagoon Road/Bernal Avenue staging area of the Marilyn Murphy Kane Trail with separate runs and toys for large and small dogs.
But first, the dog park needs a name.
That doesn't mean top bidders can name the park after their pet or a member of the family, although such a cash contribution might have helped pay the city's $300,000 cost of building the park.
After all, a naming contest by the Fort Walton (Fla.) Chamber raised $8,000 toward its goal of getting its "Liza Jackson" (the contributor) dog park up and running. Anyone remember Millie Bush, the English Springer Spaniel who shared the White House with George and Barbara? Houston has a dog park named for Millie, no doubt after a naming-rights donation. Pilgrim Bark Park in Provincetown, Mass. has that colonial feel.
Other names are more basic, more regional. Magnuson Dog Park in Seattle, a city where there are more canines than kids, is simply part of the Magnuson neighborhood. The name Laurel Canyon Dog Park in Los Angeles tells you where it is, high in the hills off tony Mulholland Drive.
Montrose Beach Dog Park on Lake Michigan in Chicago and Point Isabel Dog Park in Richmond also lack the naming potential Pleasanton is hoping for. Richmond's park does offer naming creativity with its "Sit and Stay" for the gourmet cafe the city added as one of the 23-acre off-leash park's amenities.
Pleas for Pleasanton's second dog park to add to the almost hidden fenced-off strip in Muirwood Park go back to 2000, when Pleasanton acquired free-of-charge 138 of the 515 acre Bernal site that developers bought.
Pet lovers were ecstatic. This land, now called Bernal Community Park, had all the room needed for the many sports and 4-H demonstration fields planned there along with a youth center, cultural arts center, wooded trails and even a meandering creek with surely several acres left over for a dog park.
But then the City Council, in its wisdom or lack of it, specifically ruled out using any part of Bernal for a dog park when it sought voter approval in November 2006 of the greater park plan.
The current council, no doubt exasperated with all the dog talk and with several on the council who own dogs, gave the green light for the one at the foot of the Marilyn Murphy Kane Trail. The Tankana Design Group, a San Francisco-based landscape architecture and urban design firm, handled the design work.
There are 26,800 dogs in Pleasanton and if they could vote, they might name their new park Fido or Pedigree. But Susan Andrade-Wax, director of community services for the city, says that "despite all these pooches wagging their tails in excitement over the city's new off-leash dog park," only their two-legged leash-holders will pass muster in casting votes.
A panel of judges will screen all of the submissions and select three names to forward to the Parks and Recreation Commission and City Council for a final review and selection. The individual who comes up with the winning name will be featured in the city's Activities Guide and Pleasanton Weekly and will be acknowledged at a City Council meeting.
Entries will be accepted through Aug. 31. All entries must be submitted by mail or in person on an official entry form, which can be downloaded at www.cityofpleasantonca.gov.