Maintenance at Barker Field gone to the dogs?

Posted at 7:09 PM, Aug 20, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)—Some say maintenance at Barker Field has gone to the dogs, and question why city has opened a new dog park.

Sally Brant has brought her three dogs to Barker Field Park for more than a decade.

“It’s been a wonderful thing,” said Brant.  “The city has been pretty good about it.”

However, some park-goers have complained that the park’s maintenance has gone to the dogs over the summer months.

They said that grass and weeds growing toward the back of the park have grown so tall that people are unable to clean up after their pets. 

Lee Martin said he tries to avoid the area all together.

“When the dogs get in there you can’t see them,” said Martin. “So if they defecate…it’s possible you won’t find it until you step in it or you won’t find it at all.”

Martin also said the mulch is slowly washing away, creating a dust bowl in the dry weather and a mud pit when it rains.

On Saturday, the city unveiled a new dog park on the Northside, prompting some to question why the city is opening another dog park, when they aren’t properly maintaining Barker Field Park.

The Northside Dog Park, like Barker Field Park, is a cooperative partnership between the city and a non-profit organization.

Gerald Saunders, who is a member of Friends of Barker Field, said it’s up to their group to pay for the park’s watering well, all the amenities in the park, and the mulch.

However, he said the city has always maintained primary mowing responsibilities, up until this year.

“Last year, the city cut the grass several times from the spring through the summer,” argued Saunders.  “This year, the grass hasn’t been cut but by a volunteer, a time or two.”

Saunders said the city carries away pet waste and helps maintain the fence surrounding the property.

While the park is in good shape, Saunders says Friends of Barker Field could use some more volunteers and donations to help fill in the gaps.

Sally Brant said she’d like to see some minor improvements to the park, but that overall, she’s thrilled to visit with her best friends almost daily. “I’m very fond of coming here and just talking dogs with people.”

To learn how you can help, Friends of Barker Field can be reached on Facebook and Yahoo Groups. 

A volunteer work day is currently being scheduled in the coming weeks.