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Ball players, dog walkers weigh in on Bickford Park

06/21/2013 09:02 EDT | Updated 08/21/2013 05:12 EDT
There’s a discussion underway about possible changes to a popular park in the city's west end.

Bickford Park at Harbord and Grace streets is home to a children's baseball league. It's also a favourite walking spot for dog owners.

Coun. Mike Layton says the Bloor-Christie community has to come up with a plan and possibly make some changes, to set some rules that will clarify how the space is shared.

"Sometimes it means some users have to give up a little bit more than others," he told CBC News.

Options being considered for the park include a fenced-in dog park and new pathways.

The presence of a puppy on the outfield is a pain, said Lachlan Maud, who plays ball at Bickford park.

Baseball program growing

"They kind of stop the game, and someone comes into the field and picks up the dog," he said.

Removing one of the park's two baseball diamonds is also an option, but a bad one, according to Brad Zimmerman of the growing Toronto Playgrounds baseball program.

"[It] would essentially displace a couple hundred kids from playing baseball," he said. "And for what, an off-leash dog park?"

Layton hosted a public meeting this week to discuss the options for changes to the park.

He is collecting feedback forms over the next few weeks and a fall meeting is planned decide on a final park plan.

In the mean time, people like Eddie Zuniga, who have been enjoying the park for decades, want it to stay just the way it is.

"We gather under the trees every Sunday," said Zuniga, adding that his extended latin American family has been barbecuing at Bickford Park since the 1980s. "If you make things official and you start drawing boundaries, it complicates things, yeah?"

Construction on a new park is expected to begin next spring.

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