Norfolk, Va. (WVEC) -- The Ghent Dog Park Association and Norfolk city leaders have come to a compromise to extend the hours at the Stockley Garden’s dog park in Ghent.
Currently the park is open from sunrise to sunset. The new hours agreed upon are 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Dan McNamara is the president of the Ghent Dog Park Association that built, maintains and advocates for the accessibility of the dog park. Last November, the group started a petition that gathered more than 250 signatures to support expanding the hours at the park.
The petition calls for fixed hours of 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Labor Day until Memorial Day and the park to remain open sunrise-to-sunset the rest of the time.
McNamara said those sunrise-to-sunset hours work fine during the summer and spring, but sunset comes much faster in the winter months.
One resident, who did not want to be identified, told 13News Now the influx of the visitors to the park has outgrown the area.
“The neighborhood is not set up to accommodate a dog park of this current size. Starting off with a dog park of 6 to 15 dogs. I’ve counted 45 at one time with many owners and many cars driving in. The streets are one way so that parking also impacts the residents. And the residents some of whom are only 30 feet from the dog park without any sound barriers,” she said.
Another Ghent resident, Tom Wade, said he understands why some would want the hours extended.
"I was more on the side of letting it stay open a little longer since people do work during the day and they have limited time to get their dogs exercise," said Wade.
Councilwoman Andria McClellan said the park poses a special problem because it is in the middle of a residential area with houses close on three sides. She thinks the city can find a solution that works for everyone.
“We are looking at a possible compromise with them (GDPA) to address maybe ways we can work around that. While this is important we want to focus on it for the evening and hope we have a resolution so we can move on to some of the bigger more universal issues,” said McClellan.
After the meeting, which 13News Now was not allowed into, McClellan tweeted that both sides have come to a compromise and she looks forward to the new pilot hours.
McNamara said both sides will survey again in April and see what the feedback is like. If users still are not happy with the hours, the association and the city will discuss again.