Lucky dog! New off-leash park in University Heights could open by next summer

Local

SAN DIEGO — An off-leash dog park is one step closer to reality in University Heights. 

The dog park plan includes a 10,000-square-foot site on property owned by the San Diego Unified School District between Normal Street and Campus Avenue near El Cajon Boulevard. It is expected to be surrounded by a 4-foot-tall chain-link fence and gates with an access path. It also will utilize existing turf with possible separation of spaces for small and large dogs.

Plans for the park are set to be finalized by early 2022 with an opening date set for next summer. 

Currently, local pet owners have to drive to reach the nearest dog park. They’ve certainly been anticipating a closer space to make their own.

“At this point, I will take any place,” local dog owner Julie Nelson said. “Any piece of land that’s safe and fenced-in.”

The University Heights Community Recreation Group held a workshop Thursday evening to present current plans and get a sense of what’s on the wish list for those using the park. 

“Lighting of some sort at night for the safety of the patrons as well as for the animals,” Nelson said.

“I personally would prefer one contiguous space as opposed to two smaller spaces,” Dan Weiss said. “It just allows the dogs to run more.”

The park would be constructed using funding already approved by San Diego City Council. It is technically considered a temporary location as San Diego Unified’s Education Center operations will be relocating to a new facility in Kearny Mesa in about three years. 

“The community stakeholder planning process will resume in 2022 and the master plan for that planning process will likely include a permanent off-leash dog park,” said Shannon Scoggins, park designer for the city’s Parks and Recreation department.

Interested dog owners should continue to submit comments to the University Heights Recreation Group or attend the next virtual meeting Dec. 2. More information is available online here.

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