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Saslow Dog Park Opened

By Pamela Rouse
Published: Monday, September 13, 2010, at 08:33AM
group shot of humans and (some) of the dogs.. Pamela Rouse [Flickr]

People and some of the dogs at Saturday's opening of the Saslow Dog Park pose for a photos. Other dogs were having such a great time running around that they couldn't sit still for a photo op.

At noon on Saturday, local dogs and their owners gathered outside the Arts District's new Saslow Dog Park for a ceremony that forsook a ribbon cutting for an unlocking of the gate. Los Angeles River Artist and Business Association (LARABA) president Joseph Pitruzzelli and LAPD officer Jack Richter officiated the opening of the gate to residents and their dogs.

Also in attendance were Councilman Jose Huizar, Councilwoman Jan Perry, representatives of the Arts District BID, former LARABA President Tim Keating, and Estela Lopez from Central City East Association.

Though not present, former LARABA president and Arts District activist John Saslow was praised for his work with Richter to make the park a reality.

Pitruzzelli credits former LARABA President (and Arts District activist) John Saslow, along with Senior Lead Officer Jack Richter for making the dog park a reality:

“It was their hard work and collaboration with LARABA and a bunch of other local businesses and people that brought this together," said Pitruzzelli. "[The two] raised the funds and raised the labor and got together the dog park. I think it’s going to be a really extraordinary edition to our neighborhood, and a much needed addition.”

Huizar presented Richter with a Certificate of Appreciation from the city. “This speaks to us on so many levels," he said. "First, and foremost it’s providing a great place for our four-legged friends; secondly it shows what can happen when local community members get together and work together to address an issue that the local community wants.”

The councilmember complimented Richter, the neighborhood's Senior Lead Officer, for his continued efforts to improve quality of life in the community. “He does his job, and he does it well. He goes beyond that, he’s part of the community.”

Richter spread his thanks around, pointing out the businesses and the community, the city and the BIDs who are seeing to the day-to-day running of the park. This was a grass-roots effort, he emphasized. “I got a lot of guidance through the city on what to do and what would be acceptable in the neighborhood.”

He also said that he hopes the space will be the first of more pocket parks in the neighborhood, and praised Perry for her work on the topic.

Sometimes a great project just takes a simple idea. Richter thanked the Honda family, owners of the land the dog park sits on, and reminded the audience of the project's beginnings. “[They] started the whole thing because we went to them and said ‘what are you doing with this lot?’“

$8,000 worth of materials were donated for the park's transformation from empty lot. Benefactors included three local developers and nearby eatery Wurstkuche.

Digging and pipe work for irrigation of the park’s trees has begun. A water fountain may happen as well thanks to a pledge from the Barker Block.

As for the dogs, they seemed overjoyed to have a place to run off leash, play with each other, sniff and dig their paws into the sand. Various Downtown neighborhoods were represented at the opening.

Historic Core residents Nelson Maltez and Abel Bourbois brought their dog Freida. They take their dog on long walks to the Cornfields, as well the Roybal Learning Center and are happy with the new option. “What’s cool is there’s no other official dog parks in the area, so it’s an opportunity to socialize with other dogs,” said Bourbois.

The park will be open 7 days a week from 7:30am to sunset. Opening and closing of the park, as well daily trash pick up will be handled by the Arts District BID.

Saslow Dog Park / 1004 E. 4th St / (Corner of Molino)


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