By Brian Park

Photo Gallery

The San Juan Capistrano Open Space Foundation and Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort were joined by Mayor John Taylor and Councilman Larry Kramer during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park on Wednesday, January 23.

“My late husband would be beyond proud and it’s just one more way to bring the animal community together in our little town, so thank you to everyone who’s made this happen,” Goldee Cortese said.

Dr. Joe Cortese passed away in 2008. Affectionately known as “Dr. Fleas,” Cortese was an active volunteer, serving two years as president of the Rotary Club, more than 30 years in all. He was also a founding member of CARE and in 2011, was voted Citizen of the Year in San Juan Capistrano.

The 2.5-acre park is located in the city’s northwest open space, adjacent to the historic Swanner House, currently occupied by Hamilton Oaks Vineyard.

Grading work is expected to begin in the next few weeks, followed by the installation of a chain-link fence, according to Matt Gaffney, president of CARE and a member of the OSF board of directors. OSF President Brad Gates said walkways, drainage and amenities, such as a shade structure, picnic tables, water fountains and a monument bearing a plaque will also be added. The park is projected to open in the beginning of summer.

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