ENCINITAS — Since Encinitas opened the Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park, along with the rest of the Encinitas Community Park in January, thousands of four-legged visitors and their two-legged mates have enjoyed the green space.
Apparently, the popularity comes with a price, as city officials announced last week the city’s largest off-leash dog park would be shut down for three weeks to perform maintenance.
The closure runs from April 28 to May 21, and officials said they are necessary to keep the park in tact.
“These maintenance closures are necessary and will ultimately be the deciding factor between a grassy dog park or a dirt lot,” city Spokeswoman Marlena Medford wrote in an email to The Coast News.
The maintenance will include soil conditioning and turf preservation, fencing, irrigation and drainage repairs and odor control, among other things.
The most important aspect of the repairs is the soil conditioning, park officials said, as the hard-packed surface and the use of reclaimed water make it difficult to keep the park lush and green.
“It’s (hard soil) not the best media for plants, or in this case turf grasses. When soils are heavily compacted, the plant material has a hard time establishing a healthy root structure, getting water (proper infiltration and drainage), oxygen, and nutrients,” city officials said in an email.
“Also, the dog park is irrigated with reclaimed water, which often carries high levels of salt and other dissolved solids, which makes it difficult to keep turf grasses healthy. To combat the effects of reclaimed water, the soil has to be conditioned,” the email states.
The maintenance will cost $20,000 to $25,000 and will be paid from the $350,000 set aside for annual maintenance of the Encinitas Community Park.