Palm Springs, CA

Dog park ceremony honors former city manager; critics had asked for input

The Palm Springs Post

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Retired Palm Springs City Manager David Ready speaks after being honored with a plaque Tuesday morning at the city dog park.The Palm Springs Post

Recognition of Palm Springs’ longtime city manager went to the dogs Tuesday — literally — as elected officials past and present helped dedicate the city’s dog park to David Ready.

Ready, who served as city manager for 20 years, retired earlier this year. Among his accomplishments while serving in the role, Ready is credited with helping guide the revitalization of the dog park, located behind City Hall, and helping to establish the city’s animal shelter off East Mesquite Avenue.

“This is an incredible benefit to our community,” said Palm Springs Mayor Christy Holstege during a brief ceremony preceding the unveiling of a plaque honoring Ready. “It’s a safe, warm, friendly place for people to bring their four-legged friends. I’m honored that [David] will accept this plaque since it’s so hard to get him to accept anything honoring him.”

Added J.R. Roberts, a former member of the City Council and current Planning Commission member: “Every day David Ready was at the helm of this city it was a really good day for Palm Springs.”

Speaking after the unveiling, Ready credited current city staff for the dog park’s success, saying, “Building a dog park and maintaining a dog park are two different things.”

He also noted that the project was an excellent example of perseverance for those who choose careers in public service.

“This underscores the challenge,” Ready said, pointing to the park behind him. “It wasn’t easy to do this. That’s the beauty of our local government. The key thing is we do it together.”

Some members of the public, including those serving voluntarily on a city commission, maintain that elected officials didn’t come together with them before approving the plaque.

Speaking during a regular meeting Monday evening, members of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission voiced concerns about the lack of public input before the City Council approved the plaque, at a cost of $1,000, as part of its consent calendar during an April meeting. One member echoed those concerns following the Tuesday dedication.

“This is the second time relatively recently the City Council has named a public space after a former employee — people paid six-figure sums to do their jobs,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Travis Armstrong. “These are the type of actions that become common when communities don’t have strong media watchdogs.”

While members of the public acknowledge Ready’s contributions, many hoped the city would slow down, solicit input from residents who use the park, and consider naming it after a police canine, Ike, killed in the line of duty in 2011.

“Naming any public space or public park is a big deal,” Armstrong said during public testimony at a City Council meeting in April. “This needs a proper public hearing. Officer Ike is much more worthy of this.”

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