Users of the Rancho Bernardo Off-Leash Dog Park got their first week in September at nearly $2.1 million in renovations coming to it and RB Community Park by fall 2024.

The renovations are financed through multiple funding sources, including state and city funds. They are not only to improve the dog park experience, but to make community parks more accessible to all visitors through the Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades.

The concept includes dog park improvements such as adding an 8-foot by 20-foot shade structure to each of the three dog pens, planting more shade trees and adding an 8-foot to 10-foot strip of synthetic grass.

Improvements coming to the 40-acre community park include completing a sidewalk loop and parking lot improvements so it is accessible to all. Also planned are curb ramps and crosswalk striping to the intersection on the park’s north side, new sidewalks, chain link fencing, parking lot accessible parking space improvements, comfort station (restroom) floor leveling, site furnishings, multi-use path striping, multi- use path bollards, and landscape and irrigation modifications.

Jarod Huwa with San Diego-based landscape architecture and planning firm KTUA said some improvements are in response to community requests, while others are to fix issues such as cracked and heaving concrete.

Dogs playing in Rancho Bernardo's off-leash dog park.

Dogs playing in Rancho Bernardo’s off-leash dog park. Planning work in the city continues on the renovations tentatively scheduled for completion in October 2024.

(Elizabeth Marie Himchak)

“We want to preserve the large open areas and the trees closer to the fence line,” Huwa said about the dog park plan.

If the project stays on schedule, the 10 months of construction will be complete by October 2024.

There was a mixed reaction by dog ​​park users who wanted more grass, rattlesnake guards and water fountains in each pen. These were not included in the proposed design for various reasons, officials said. A couple of residents questioned why additional work outside of the dog park was being included in the project. Grotzinger said it is due to federal rules that when work occurs, ADA improvements must be included.

This is just the start of improvements coming to RB Community Park. In addition to state funding of $485,000 for dog park improvements secured by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein in 2019, during the summer he announced another $790,000 coming from the state for RB Community Park. This is earmarked for the design and construction of tennis courts, sports field lighting and parking lot improvements to meet ADA requirements. There is no timeline on when this work will occur.

By Chiki