The group, which Occupy NOLA and Occupy The Stage are supporting, announced the following:
"On Sunday from 11am-1pm let's make signs and put them on the fences at the park to get our message out there. We're inviting the press. We need lots of people and dogs!"
Community Voices Speak Out!
What I learned at the Bywater Neighborhood Association meeting tonight: there are quite a few people who seem to believe that area dogs are walking, biking, and driving themselves to Mickey Markey Playground and enjoying the space at the expense of neighborhood Children and People, and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT THIS. TAKE BACK MARKEY PARK!!!!!!!!! also: "Flexible Green Space" = some kind of bullshit people actually think bywater residents will use. yes, lemme go throw a frisbee/fly a kite/have a picnic on those vacant lots next to the playground the 8 small children who live in this neighborhood sometimes use. that sounds like fun. or how bout we just put a sign up that says "Check it out! Empty space with bushes where you can take a quick shit/shoot up/meet with a pal to exchange money or blowjobs for drugs!" OOORRRRRRRR i can just take my dog over there to play, and shoot the shit with the other dog owners like i've been doing for years OH NO THAT'S JUST CRAZY TALK" - Jane Deaux
"We need to get an itemized accounting for the $600 MILLION budgeted for this park. As we are not getting new playground equipment I can only imagine that at least $500 million will be wasted, on "impact studies", and other "research" ie lining pockets. Only by getting an itemized accounting of where this incredible amount of money is going (and we aren't getting anything that would bring children's programs to the area ie scouts, 4H, music, art, or any after school programs) can we start holding their feet to the fire on this one. Someone is getting rich & we need to find out who."
"I'm going to speak freely here. Please, no one take offense to what I'm about to say. Is it just me or has it seemed lately that a few influx of rich white mundane yuppie types who want to make New Orleans like the place they moved from gotten a little too much power and sway? I see more condos and more complaints about venues and second lines than before pre Katrina. Hell pre Katrina you tell me there would be condos in the Bywater ( upper 9th ) I would of laughed! Who are these people? Why did they move here? Don't they know what this city is about? My guess is they have the money to build, they have the money to redevelop. To buy and gobble up property. Sell our traditions and our heritage to the highest bidder. Folks we the original New Orleans are becoming a minority now! GET INVOLVED! TAKE YOUR CITY BACK! I aint against fixing shit up, I'm against fixing shit up and saying that neighborhood bar that's been there for 60 years, those Mardi Gras Indians that have walked those streets before I was born, that street musician that has played on that same corner since 1992 has got to go! That's what I'm against! TAKE YOUR CITY BACK!"
"in a nation where households of dog owners (43 million) now surpassed those with children (38 million)." I wonder what the statistics are in NOLA. I don't hear a request to ban kids or a dog free area Just a request for an area for free dogs that is already in a park that IS currently primarily a dog park. The rest of the park would still be 'safe for the wheel chair guy', and could still potentially have 'dog poo' both issues that are excuses for not having free dogs. "The riverfront dog run is already under construction" .... SO in addition to Markey park, families & kids are getting a new school Colton Middle School... according to recareas . com it has a playground (Probably Pre-Katrina, and planned again) --- And since the river project "has funding" they should probably make sure it has a playground area. Or a picknick area like they have at the fly. --- Oh wait. They are planning of having big ships load and unload there. Might as well just burn the neighborhood down."
Partial Timeline of BNA, NORD-C, and Decision to Exclude Dog Area fro markey Park Redevelopment Plans.
- Where was the Feb 25 closing of Markey Park first announced and by whom?
- What was the chain of command and that led to the notice about Markey Park closing Feb 25? What specific organizations and representatives of organizations were involved?
- Who made the decision to not include off-leash dog area in Markey Park? (2011 letter from BNA Board and statement from Trust for Public Land Rep at Feb 27 meeting contradict one another.)
- Who says money for projects cannot be used for a park that includes off-leash dog areas?Why is there a proposed ordinance/law saying only 1 dog park can exist per district and how can this be stopped/appealed? Who is the contact person?
- Why does a 501c that is not democratically elected get to receive and allocate funds for constituency?
- What is City Hall’s (Mayor Landrieu’s) role in decision to keep dogs out of Markey Park?
- Why are the April 2012 minutes not available on the NORD section of the city website?
- What is the BNA going to do with the 200,000 it is receiving for the park?
Fact: The NORD Commission consists of 13 members appointed by the Mayor.
Partial timeline as of Feb 28:
Here is an incomplete timeline of events pertaining to the BNA’s relationship with NORD and Citizen Advisory Task Force on Dogs:
Sept 2010 - BNA wrote to Coucilwoman Palmer asking to receive $200,000 for park. From BNA online archive http://www.thebywater.org/dbpdfs/Markey_Park_Funds_Palmer_100924.pdf.
July 12, 2011 - NORDC Meeting
Commissioner Reese Morse motioned that the full Commission authorize the Facilities Sub-Committee to create a Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a process specific to looking at pets in parks and other related issues. Commissioner Darnell seconded that motion. Vote taken. Motion adopted.
Sept 2011 - NORDC created the Citizen Advisory Task Force on Dogs in Parks.
October 2011 - January 2012 - Dog Task Force held 6 public meetings.
November 2011- BNA sent a letter to TPL stating its position was that Markey Park was for people only. John Guarnierie (chair of BNA at the time) wrote to TPL specifically recommending that they submit a park design excluding an off-leash area for dogs AFTER the neighborhood survey clearly indicated that a majority of residents wanted an off-leash dog park. http://www.thebywater.org/dbpdfs/Schmidt_ltr_111111.pdf
December 11, 2011 - Task force Chairwoman Jackie Shreves and BNA are quoted in a TP article
More recently, it made headlines when the Trust for Public Land announced it would pay $600,000 to improve the park. Lisanne Brown of the Bywater Neighborhood Association said the question of how to manage dogs in the park became a hot button issue at the first meeting about the park’s refurbishment.
“For so many years NORD wasn’t doing anything at all with the park, so neighborhood people invested themselves in trying to keep it up and have a place to take their dogs,” Brown said. “A community grew around it and they don’t want that threatened. But at the same time, the dog people know that the current space allocation in the park needs to be changed to be fairer to everyone.”
The task force is considering recommending to the NORDC facilities committee two distinct types of dog venues: off-leash dog parks and off-leash dog runs.
Feb 2012 - Citizen Advisory Task Force on Dogs reported back to NORDC (which created it).
Feb 2012 - NORDC Facilities Subcommittee “a committee of the commission” reviewed the task force’s recommendations and information on other cities’ policies.
**** So NORDC had a committee to review its own committee’s findings????)
Feb 2012 - The NORDC committee that reviewed the findings of the Task Force on Dogs asked the city’s Capital Projects Administration to design a process to recommend sites for one dog park and one dog run in each City Council district.
April 2012 - The Capital Projects Administration made this survey about dogs and parks https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2VZC2L7.
April 2012 - NORD Commission appears to have met meet but Meeting minutes are missing from city website due to broken link.
April 2012: BNA Newsletter
The NORDC Facilities Sub-committee met February 28th,
chaired by Deputy Mayor Judy Reese Morse. Capital Projects
Consideration of Citizen Advisory Task Force (CATF) on Dogs in Parks
Chair’s Report and Minority Report: The Commission reviewed both reports and had some discussion about the issue. The NORDC Director stated that his staff was doing what they could to enforce the current ordinances, but that many residents were intentionally breaking them such as removing signage in NORD parks. The CATF process was criticized for not including more public comment The Director of Capital Projects, Vince Smith, will obtain more public input from residents and suggest a process for identifying appropriate dog park areas by district. No vote was taken on the issue at this meeting. Larry Schmidt (Trust for Public Land) attended. He said that he has a memorandum of understanding (MOA) with the city and NORDC to develop Markey Park and that the private funders supporting the project want funds spent this calendar year. He requested to move forward under the original
agreement and not consider the issue of the dog park at this time (the original agreement did not include a dog park/run). He said a dog park could be possible in the future. He will present plans at the next sub-committee meeting for approval so TPL
April 31, 2012- New Orleans Capital and Recovery Projects
NORDC City Wide Dog Park Presentation shows survey found 70% of respondents agree that the City of NOLA should have designated off-leash spaces
Lists Mickey Markey Park as 1 of top 5 locations used be survey respondents as off-leash dog location. Markey Park is short-listed.
Bywater residents believed the redevelopment of Markey Park would include an area for off leash dogs.
FEB 2013: Problems with unbuilt River Front Park (which is where NORD is saying dogs should go) are described in NOLA Defender http://www.noladefender.com/content/riv34erfr67ont
NORDC meets but February 5, 2013 Presentation minutes from meeting are missing due to broken link..
Feb 2013 - NORD Announces it will close down Markey Park. Flyers are posted in park.
Bywater Residents voice concerns on OccupyNOLA Facebook Page.
“Just a heads up to the Occupy community: On Monday, February 25, [The New Orleans Recreation Development Foundation] NORD is going to close down Markey Park in the Bywater. There were a series of lively, well-attended meetings about how to redevelop the park with a grant from the Trust for Public Land. Overwhelmingly the neighborhood wants part of the park to remain an off-leash dog park. The design firm observed the daily use of the park for a week, remarked how highly-used it is, then came up with three plans, all of which divided the space in thirds, for a playground, a dog park, and a free space. The meetings were a testament to civic involvement, cooperation and democracy. Then, Vic Richards, the head of NORD, surreptitiously commissioned his own plan, without dogs and rammed it through. This park is an integral community meeting place and it is about to go from being highly used to a drive-by “show park” for developers. The community is angry that we were told we’d have a say, and then clearly did not. P.S. The proposed “dog run” at the Riverfront Park will be much smaller, on-leash, and is, at this point, is not constructed.”
Feb 21- Save Markey Park Facebook event is created by Bywater residents and advocates of keeping park dog friendly.
Feb 21 - posting on the BNA’s Facebook page indicates that the February 25 start date for park renovations will be pushed back because more preparations are needed before the work begins.
FEB 22 NOLA Defender runs OpEd in favor of including dog area in park. http://www.noladefender.com/content/op-ed-by34water-re67sidents-left-out-markey-park-plans
FEB 22 - BNA Issues statement about Markey Park on Facebook Page (of all places).
The Bywater Neighborhood Association (BNA) would like to set the record straight on Mickey Markey Park. To begin with, it is not an off-leash dog park. New Orleans Code of Ordinances § 18-14 provides that dogs away from their home must, at all times, be kept on a leash. Further, § 18-13 of the Code requires all dog owners to clean up after their dogs or be fined. The only exceptions are for licensed off-leash dog parks. The only legal off-leash dog park in New Orleans is City Bark in Mid-City’s City Park (See New Orleans Code Ord. § 106-301(d); see also
Although other locations, such as The Fly, are popular dog- owner destinations, the law does not allow dogs to be off their leashes there.
The same is true with Markey Park, where signs at the entrance to the park clearly state that all dogs must be kept on leashes. Nonetheless, in violation of the law, many people let their dogs run free. Needless to say, Markey Park cannot “remain” a dog park, because it is not, in fact, a dog park. Nor do the pro-dog advocates have an answer for the copious amounts of dog waste that can be found in the current incarnation of Markey Park, in violation of the law. Case in point, in preparing for the Mirliton Festival in 2011, BNA volunteers picked up 93 bags of dog waste. Many parents have complained that their children cannot use the open space at Markey Park because of the dog waste and the risks posed by off-leash dogs. (See above article.)
In 2010, the Bywater Parks and Recreation Committee undertook a survey of Bywater residents. The surveys were conducted online (through a heavily advertised link), were handed out at a table at the Mirliton Festival, and were done in person, by going door-to-door.
44% of respondents indicated they did not use Markey Park because of the dog waste, while 31% responded they did not use it because of off-leash dogs in general. The respondents indicated the four most popular reasons for using parks were for special events, relaxation and picnics, exercise and walking, and socializing. While approximately half of respondents who used Markey Park indicated they brought dogs to the park, the vast majority of people said they would use the park more if renovations were made, including placing restrictions on dogs. The results were reported to the BNA’s general membership and posted on the BNA’s website in May 2011.
In January 2011, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) approached the BNA about renovating Markey Park through private funds. TPL has the capacity to raise funds to complement the original $200,000 that was allocated to Markey Park by the Community-Based Mitigation Committee (CBMC) allocated to the project. CBMC, however, put in place the restriction that its funds would not be used for dog areas. TPL did not put in place the same restriction explicitly, but after responding to community and city input, took the same position. While this concerned Bywater residents who owned dogs, it became clear that the new park might not happen without these funds. Around the same time, news broke that the new Riverfont Park would include an off-leash dog area.
In June 2011, the New St. Claude Association of Neighbors (NSCAN) took the position that Markey Park should be returned to full, dedicated use for children. The BNA, noting that the law does not allow off-leash dogs in Markey Park, met and voted to also take the position that Markey Park should be used primarily for people, but remained open to workable solutions in the future. Both groups notified the city of their positions.
Throughout late 2011 and spring 2012, multiple public meetings were had on the subject of Markey Park, and at one in 2012, the Director of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission
(NORDC), Vic Richards, made clear that Markey Park would not be an off-leash dog park. This was consistent with the city’s cracking down on dog owners who violated leash laws citywide. (See http://www.nola.com/pets/index.ssf/2012/03/dog_parks_on_agenda_for_new_or.html.)
Mr. Richard indicated, however, that dog owners had alternative options, such as finding vacant lots that could be turned into dedicated dog parks; but, that for health and safety reasons, the city did not want to allow residents and off-leash dogs to recreate in the same space. The City indicated, though, that dogs were welcome to public parks, provided the dogs were on leashes and the owners cleaned up after them. (See same article.)
Three proposed designs for Markey Park were made with community input, which each featured an area for dogs. The BNA took no official position on these three options. The BNA did, however, request that the TPL offer an option without an off-leash dog area, since NORDC would be who decided whether one would be permitted. The city, during a public meeting, solicited a fourth option, with no dog area. Ultimately, the city chose the fourth option. The entire process was open and transparent. This was not a failure of the democratic process, but simply recognizing that it was unsanitary and unsafe for off-leash dogs and children to share the same open space, while carrying out the city’s policy that each district should have only one dog park, and that Bywater’s one dog park was slated for the Riverfront.
In part, the city’s policies recognize that one of the major problems with off-leash dogs is violence. Dog attacks, or near-scares of being bitten, have been a re-occurring problem in New Orleans with off- leash dogs, in general, and at Markey Park, in particular. The BNA has requested from the New Orleans Police Department a report of dog bite incidents at Markey Park, and will share that upon receipt. The other problem with off-leash dog parks is maintenance and cleanliness. Currently, 70- 80% of Markey Park is well-trod grass, covered with dog waste, and is dangerous with all the dogs running about (often barely watched by their owners). It is not sanitary for children (or adults) to be sliding in grass with dog urine and feces. As it is, Markey Park smells, is unattractive, and constantly poses the risk to people of being bitten by a dog.
While the BNA has long recognized that many people want to use Markey Park as an off-leash dog park, it has no authority to re-write the New Orleans Code of Ordinances to make that happen. Moreover, after agonizing over the decision of what is best for the neighborhood, the democratically elected members of the Board voted in favor of endorsing Markey Park for people. Many New Orleans neighborhoods have the benefit of attractive, safe, clean parks for use by themselves, their friends, and families. Markey Park is not one of those parks. But it could be.
Feb 25, 2013: City tractors and workers come to Markey Park in droves and cut grass. Video
Feb 26 - Petition is formed I want a dedicated off-leash area for dogs in Markey Park! Feb 27, 2013 : BNA meets about dogs and Markey Park. Meeting is recorded on video here
At Parks and Recreation Committee Meeting Monday, February 25, TPL Rep said it was Judy Reese Morse who told TPL NO DOGS at Markey Park. TPL Rep says Fence around Markey Park will come down at this minute mark.