PTC dog park ‘pay to play’

Change would create public access hours, free programs

Barking and frolicking are not free, at least at Peachtree City’s Dog Park.

The Peachtree City Dog Park Association has been requiring dog owners to pony up a $35 annual fee to use the park in lieu of traditional fund-raising, said association president and former city Mayor Steve Brown.

A new contract with the association that would create “public access hours” at the park along with programs available to city residents for free or no charge will be considered by the City Council.

The new agreement also allows the dog park association to obtain sponsorships and display associated signs as long as they comply with the city’s sign ordinance.

The fee became a bone of contention at a recent council meeting when Harold Yelton complained that his daughter was “turned away” from the park because her family hadn’t paid the annual fee or $1 per visit.

Yelton said he understood the park was city-owned and while the dog park association has done a lot of good things, he felt the fee was not legitimate.

Yelton’s inquiry with the city has led to city officials drawing up a new agreement with the dog park association which would require the association to “consult with the city to determine all fees, membership dues and all other charges” for the park.

The park is on city-owned land and in 2002 the City Council provided $5,000 in seed money. The park is located adjacent to the city’s BMX track at the Shakerag recreation complex off McIntosh Trail. Ultimately more than $20,000 in additional money was raised by volunteers to fund construction of the park.

But the dog park needs roughly $3,200 a year to maintain the park and pay for liability insurance, maintenance and the like, Brown said, nothing that the city does not fund any dog park operations other than the monthly water bill; city crews also will empty trash receptacles at the park.