Current park locations cannot host dog park
January 7, 2011
The Parks Commission should either find a suitable location for an off-leash dog park in the city or recommend to the City Council that no park be built in Newcastle at all.
The two locations still being considered — the southwest corner of Lake Boren Park and the future sports park to be off Southeast 95th Way — present issues significant enough to warrant disqualification as potential sites.
Olympus residents have expressed concern about the Lake Boren Park location. Some live a matter of yards away from the proposed dog park site, and have objected to side effects of what a dog park could bring, including noise and sanitation issues. These residents are concerned a park could aversely affect the value of their homes, and they might be right.
Many dog owners who would use an off-leash park — including those from the Newcastle organization Friends Embracing the Canine Heart — have rejected placing a dog park at the site of the future sports park, citing concerns with the site’s remoteness and its location near the city’s south limits. Thus, the city is likely to get little or no private financial assistance in constructing or maintaining a park here.
Given the city’s tight budget, financial assistance is imperative, and if dog owners will not use a selected park site, building one would be pointless and a waste of money.
The Parks Commission has twice gone through the process of winnowing out locations not suitable for a dog park, and if it chooses to return for a third try, it needs to find an alternative site. However, if all of the parties involved cannot reach a compromise, the commission should recommend that no park be built.
There is a need for a dog park in the city, or so say dog owners. As more multifamily homes are built in the city, the need will only increase. But a dog park is not critical to the health of a city. If there are no right locations or donations of time and money from dog owners, the city should not feel bad about choosing a no-build option.