Troubleshooter Diane Wilson investigates neglected dog park


The dogs love the Northgate Dog Park in Durham, but the dog owners do not exactly feel the same way.

"It's very muddy if it's even dewy outside," said MaryBeth Panagos.

"It's generally very, very muddy," added Heather Wendt.

"It's just a cesspool," David Kresge said.

The park is full of holes, mud, and big puddles that cause problems for these dog owners.

"The large dog park can get about four inches of water and we can get quite a bit of mud, mosquitoes, just general mess. And when you actually think about what dogs do in a dog park, you can also consider what that means for animal health and human health and it's definitely a concern," MaryBeth said.

Dog park goers have to register their dog with Durham Parks and Recreation and pay a fee to use the dog parks, the fee ranges from $15 to $22 a year.

"There's some great examples of parks around here where your fee definitely goes into uh, amazing and beautiful grounds, and we'd just like to see something similar happen here," MaryBeth said.

However, it is not just the landscape that is causing concerns,

"There'll be weeks were the bags will run out, there just won't be bags here, and so the regular people know to bring bags," Heather said.

A rep with Durham Parks and Recreation told us they know there are issues with mud and water, but the park is in a flood plain and they are limited on what improvements can be made due to federal and state regulations. She also adds while they have made some improvements to the grounds like reseeding, they are working with the storm water folks to come up with a plan to make the area less muddy and drier.

Dog owners say they welcome any improvements and hope they are made sooner rather than later.

"The best part about the park is the location, and it's disappointing to have such a beautiful location that's central to so many people and have issues like it does," MaryBeth said.

Reps with the city say when the park is too muddy; the best thing to do is stay off the ground as it just makes matters worse. Many of the owners wanted to know where their fees that they pay to use the dog park are going; a rep with the city tells me those fees go into the general fund for Durham Parks and Recreation, not specifically that dog park.

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