After complaints, city considers moving dog park

TEGA CAY -- It seems the biggest problem with Central Bark, Tega Cay's dog park, is that it's popular.

Several city residents who live near the park on Newberry Lane have complained to the city about excessive noise from the park, increased traffic and park users not following the posted park rules. The Parks and Recreation Committee met last week to address the problems and plan to present a proposal to Tega Cay City Council on Monday.

"It's not terrible all the time, but when it's bad, it's bad," said Jerry Hiers, an area resident.

He told the committee about barking and snarling dogs some days, and people who drop their dogs off at the park leaving them unattended -- in direct violation of park rules.

"Imagine if everyone took their kids to the same restaurant, and let them run wild," he continues.

The committee has looked into the prospect of moving the dog park from the Lakeshore area, but ruled out placing it in other neighborhood parks throughout the city because the same problems are likely to play out.

However, a proposed move to the open lot beside the city's police department might be a logical solution, Hiers said.

Tega Cay Operations Director Charlie Funderburk said the planned Catawba River Park would be the ideal permanent location for the dog park but that project's still three to five years away.

The river park would keep the dog park away from neighborhoods, would be heavily wooded with access to New Grayrock Road, which will be a major thoroughfare in the area.

Tega Cay included approximately $3,000 to $4,000 in this year's budget for improvements to Central Bark, but Funderburk suggested the city might use the money to move the park instead if a suitable alternate location can be found.

"You've basically got three options," Funderburk told the committee. "We can clean up and beautify the existing location and maybe limit the hours of operation. We could move it to the field adjacent to the police department. Or, we could close it down altogether."

He also said the city doesn't have enough manpower to make sure the dog park rules are strictly enforced.

An added benefit of moving the park next to the police department is people might adhere to the rules more consistently with police officers next door all day. That location also would take the traffic and noise issues out of a neighborhood.