Dog lovers, rejoice. A new dog park will be here next year.
The City Council on Wednesday approved preliminary design of the park, which will be located north of Corby Pond and south of Eagles baseball field (located at 22nd and Marion streets). Its members previously appropriated $150,000 to fund the project, and bids will go out in the spring.
The concept is not new for cities nation- or even statewide. In fact, St. Joseph is the largest city in Missouri that does not have a designated dog park — Kansas City has eight; Columbia has three.
“It’s something that has become really popular and is almost expected in a city this size,” said Roger Sparks, city engineer.
Mr. Sparks designed the 7.5-acre park in-house with the help of Holly Hendricks, animal control manager. Corby Parkway was chosen out of six other locations throughout the city. The area has access to parking, is further away from homes, is centrally located, has plenty of shade and has access to utilities.
“It seems to be a fairly ideal location,” he said.
The fenced-in park will feature a large area for big dogs, a smaller area for small dogs and an agility course. It also has room for a swimming pond if future funding would allow for it.
Along with the design, the team determined how the park will be operated. Every owner will be required to pay a $5 annual membership fee for each of their dogs, as well as sign a liability waiver and follow a list of rules (including cleaning up their dogs’ waste). The dogs will have to be vaccinated for both rabies and Parvovirus, have a current city registration, and be spayed or neutered.
She said the $5 membership fee will include a unique dog tag that will identify who is there legally. While no additional staff will be hired for enforcement, animal control officers will include the park on their patrol rotation (they currently patrol all parks and schools on a daily basis).
“The hope is that a lot of the regulars of the parks will take ownership of it,” and help educate others on general etiquette, Ms. Hendricks said.
The six council members present at Wednesday’s work session agreed wholeheartedly with the plan, and gave permission for city staff to move forward. No formal council action is required because the $150,000 already was appropriated when the council passed this fiscal year’s budget.
Bruce Woody, city manager, said a fundraising campaign will be launched as soon as possible to raise private funds for additional amenities for the park. He explained the $150,000 will only provide the basics; the plan as proposed would cost approximately $207,900.