Group wants to name dog park after late councilwoman

ENCINITAS — The nonprofit Encinitas Garden Festival & Tour committee would like the two-acre dog area in the community park to be named the “Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park,” or a similar name.

This week, Sanford Shapiro, a representative for the committee, said the group would donate $7,500 for enhancements to the park if named after Houlihan.

The plan was proposed during the public comments section of the City Council meeting last week.

Shapiro said the name is fitting, because Houlihan, who lost her battle with cancer about two years ago, advocated for parks and dog-friendly areas during her time as mayor and as a councilmember.

“She was loved and respected,” Shapiro said. “We know her passion for animals.”

Also, he said the committee is looking to pay tribute to Houlihan, who spearheaded the Encinitas Garden Festival & Tour. For the past eight years, the annual walking tour has celebrated gardening and horticultural heritage by featuring gardens throughout the city.

He said that the $7,500 could go to shrubbery, trees, benches and other improvements in the dog park, which is currently under construction. It’s expected the entire community park will be completed by spring of 2014.

In response to the committee’s plan, the City Council will review naming procedures for parks  — a conversation expected to take place in early 2014.

According to current city policy: “Generally, parks and beaches will not be named after individuals, living or deceased, except by special circumstances as recommended appropriate by the Parks and Recreation Commission and deemed appropriate by the City Council.”

It goes on to state that the commission will advertise any future meeting considering proposals for park names.

If City Council approves the proposal, Shapiro said the committee would continue to raise funds for the dog park beyond the $7,500. Last week, he also noted that six parks in Encinitas are currently named after deceased individuals who were influential to the community.

In 2007, the Encinitas Garden Festival & Tour joined the Coastal Community Foundation to make up the Encinitas Garden Festival Fund. Money donated to the fund is invested back into the community in the form of grants to school gardens, scholarships and various projects. Thus far, the fund has given $19,000 to the community.

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  1. Richard says:

    Which park are you referring to? The article doesn’t name it or state where it is.

    • Jared Whitlock says:

      Hi Richard, It’s the dog area within the Encinitas Community Park, as I said. It’s right off of Santa Fe Avenue, and currently under construction.

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