Spring 2013

Dog Park Construction in Full Swing!

Work Begins on Reata Park and Event Center 

Your Membership 
Makes a Difference!

Volunteer Spotlight - Eddie Perlas, Epic Photos


"We are excited that the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park will be opening soon in San Juan Capistrano 
and are happy to contribute to show our commitment to the project."


Rich Holt
Greenstone Materials


 "As a member of the business community, we are pleased to support the work of the Open Space Foundation. It helps to preserve the natural beauty of our city, which is beneficial for both residents and local business owners."


 Mike Barth
J&M Contractors


Brad Gates, President
Dick Paulsen, V.P. 
and Treasurer
Tim Neely, Secretary
Mike Barth
Greg Dillion
Mike Evans
Matt Gaffney
Al King
Mark Nielsen
Tom Ostensen
Derek Ostensen, Conservation Consultant
Robert R. Redwitz, CPA


San Juan Capistrano
Open Space Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit public benefit corporation that was established in
January 2009.

Our mission is to acquire and promote the preservation, restoration, expansion, improvement and public use of open space within the City of San Juan Capistrano to enrich the quality of life for area residents.

Dog Park Construction in Full Swing!
Since breaking ground in January, construction of the Dr. Joe Cortese Dog Park has been moving forward quickly. Grading was completed first, followed by the installation of concrete generously donated by Robertson's Ready Mix Concrete. Now completed, the concrete walkways will allow safe and easy access to the site. 
Dog park fence
Volunteers reinstall fencing around the dog park
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos
Following the grading and concrete work, community volunteers dug new post holes and reinstalled 800+ feet of lodge pole fencing along the driveway, parking lot, and picnic areas. In addition, they installed a water line for the dog water fountains, car bumpers in the parking lot, wooden poles for the entry sign, and mulched and cleaned up the dog park site and existing picnic area. Thanks to the volunteers who donated time to complete these labor-intensive tasks: Mike Barth, Steve Behmerwohld, Matt Gaffney, Scott Gates, Brad Gates, Tim Neely, Ryan Neely, Tom Ostensen, and Dick Paulsen.


Coming up next will be the re-mulching of the parking lot and installation of the chain link fence in the dog park area. To view photos of the work in progress, please visit our Photo Gallery. Barring any weather-related delays, the dog park should be completed in May.
The outpouring of support and donations from the community has been outstanding, but we still need your help! Your donation will go toward wonderful features such as dog waste stations, shade structures and more. Many thanks to the two dog lovers who made a contribution to purchase a dog water fountain and dog waste station. Your donations are greatly appreciated! We still need one more dog waste station ($250). If you would like to donate toward this item, please send us an email.
A great way to honor your pet and support the project is by having your name and your dog's name (up to 24 characters) etched on a name plate ($200) or on the stone memorial ($2,000). You can also make a contribution to the project's general fund. Please visit the Foundation's website for more information. 


Work Begins on Reata Park and Event Center
Debris removal
Debris is removed from
the Reata Park site
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos

Following the City Council's approval on final design plans last December, the Open Space Foundation began work in February on the Reata Park and Event Center. Remedial work required by the city has been completed, such as tearing down old, unusable structures, to make way for park improvements. 

In early April, F
oundation volunteers will begin staking for lodge pole fencing along Ortega Highway. Other Phase 1 construction plans for grading, landscaping, and the plant palette have been submitted to the city for approval. Permits allowing volunteers to begin this work are expected sometime in April. Phase 1 construction should be completed by August, and the park will be usable and accessible to the public shortly thereafter.

Reata Park banner
Volunteer Dick Paulsen with the Foundation's banner 


Future construction phases include refurbishing a ranch house into a welcome center, and refurbishing other buildings into historical and presentation centers. An equestrian staging area, native landscaping, parking, trails and restrooms will also be added. When completed, Reata Park and Event Center will be enjoyed daily by residents and visitors alike.

Your donations are critical to this effort! We need to raise $2 million to complete all of the planned improvements. To donate to this project, you may mail your tax deductible check to the Foundation with a note restricting your donation to Reata Park and Event Center improvements. For more information, please visit the Foundation's website or send us an emailThank you for your support!
Your Membership Makes a Difference!
Members enjoy supporting the Open Space Foundation
©Eddie Perlas/Epic Photos
Your tax-deductible annual membership is one of the best and easiest ways to support the Open Space Foundation. The Foundation is a grassroots organization of citizens who want to make the city's open spaces accessible and usable for all to enjoy. It is completely run by volunteers and there is no overhead, so your donation goes directly toward building and installing open space improvements.  


There are many benefits to becoming an SJC Open Space Foundation member, such as: 

  • Subscription to the Open Space Foundation's quarterly e-Newsletter
  • Membership certificate
  • Special invitations to events and activities for members only
  • Advance notice of public events
  • Sponsor recognition in select Open Space Foundation publications 

Join or renew today! Membership fees are tax deductible. For more information and/or to register online, please visit the our website


Volunteer Spotlight - Eddie Perlas, 
Epic Photos

Life-long San Juan Capistrano resident Eddie Perlas is on a mission to preserve our open space. Over the years, he spent much of his free time on horseback or riding his bike through the city's wide, open spaces. Today, Eddie is committed to preserving these areas and making them accessible for his children and future generations.


One way that Eddie shows his commitment is by volunteering for the Open Space Foundation. He has donated over one hundred hours visiting open space sites and photographing everything from Foundation volunteers at work to the beautiful scenery that surrounds our projects. You can see his photos throughout our website, on our membership brochure, and often featured in our e-Newsletters.

As a professional photographer and owner of Epic Photos, Eddie is skilled at a wide range of photography - from commercial shoots to family portraits and weddings. He is the director and lead photographer of the Legends Football League (an all women's indoor arena league), a freelance photographer for ESPN, and a team photographer for the San Diego Chargers.

Eddie and his wife DeeDeeJo, along with daughters Joanna, Emma and son Nathan, enjoy horseback riding, hiking and picnicking in the city's open space areas. Budding photographers themselves, their children often bring cameras along on their hikes to capture the beauty that surrounds them.


We offer our deepest thanks to Eddie for his outstanding contributions to the Open Space Foundation and support of our mission to make the city's open spaces usable and accessible by all.