OAKLAND -- It looks like Snow Park, or at least a half-acre of it, will be going to the dogs.
The city's Parks and Recreation Commission on Monday gave its blessing for the city to move forward with plans to include a dog facility as part of a series of renovations scheduled for Downtown Oakland's biggest park.
City officials hoped to return to the commission in April with more detailed plans for a dog park near the intersection of Harrison and 19th streets before seeking City Council approval.
Placing the dog facility in Snow Park would solve what appeared to be an intractable turf war. Dog park advocates faced fierce opposition to their original plan for a park on the opposite end of Lake Merritt, at the corner of Lakeshore Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard.
When the City Council deadlocked on the site last month, Mayor Jean Quan ordered alternative sites to be considered near Lake Merritt.
Snow Park surged to the top of the list because it faced no opposition from either Children's Fairyland or bird watchers, and so far has elicited only limited opposition from nearby residents.
It also has the support of dog park advocates who had been pushing for the prior site.
"Snow Park is beautiful," said Emily Rosenberg of the Oakland Dog Owner's Group. "I'm excited about anyplace they're going to give us a dog park."
Oakland is home to five dog parks, including one at Jefferson Park, which already serves a portion of downtown. Dog groups have been trying for a decade to get a dog park near Lake Merritt, where many residents have dogs but not backyards.
Several residents of senior living homes that ring Snow Park spoke out against the dog park proposal Tuesday. Unlike the opponents at the prior site who argued that it had too many users to accommodate dogs, they argued that the dog facility would detract from Snow Park's serenity.
"It takes away from our walking space," Polly Amrein said. "I'm just concerned with it affecting our ability to sit quietly and just enjoy the sun."
Funding also remains a challenge for the dog park. The city presently has $38,000 allocated for the project, which might not even cover design costs. The design plans drawn for the originally proposed site won't work at Snow Park, which is hillier and wooded, Oakland Planning Director Scott Miller said.
Rosenberg estimated the entire project would cost about $200,000 -- more than double the estimated cost at the prior site. A good portion of the cost, she said, would likely have to be raised through private donations.
Inclusion of a dog park might also force the city to delay moving ahead with scheduled improvements to Snow Park. As part of 2002's Measure DD, the city is planning an $8.5 million project to expand and renovate the park.
The project, which was scheduled to go out to bid this year, includes a children's play area, a renovated putting green and the removal of a portion of 20th Street to make room for a pedestrian plaza.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.