Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
July 31, 2012
MONMOUTH -- A big legislative hurdle has been cleared regarding the creation of a dog park in Monmouth, with one left to go in the form of approval by the City Council.
Recommended plans for the facility in the northwest corner of Monmouth Recreational Park off Hogan Road, meanwhile, show the site as now 1.1 acres, significantly smaller that what was originally proposed.
"Ideally, it would be a little bit bigger," said Margaret Johnson, a member of the city's Parks and Recreation Board. "But I believe this satisfies people's needs."
An ad-hoc group, the Friends of Monmouth Dog Park, has been lobbying for a pooch-friendly venue since last fall.
More than a dozen residents have been involved in planning and research on the park, seeking funding and performing their own site and cost review.
The parks and recreation board recommended adding a pooch-friendly venue to the city's master list of park related projects and making it available to the public by August 2013.
"There's an apparent need for it," Johnson said. "We don't get a lot of suggestions from citizens and this was a strong one."
City Council will consider the park and ways to fund it early in the fall, said Monmouth City Manager Scott McClure.
"It will be great when we have it," said Lisa Silbernagel, a dog park advocate. "We hope the city greenlights this so we can get started fundraising."
Dog park supporters had originally sought an almost 2-acre park, which would have included space area surrounding the tennis courts. The board and city staff recommended a 1.1-acre park because of drainage issues and to spare the nearby courts.
"The board felt that was an amenity to our parks," Johnson said. "There are no public tennis courts in Monmouth, unless you're counting the schools."
If the council approves the park, development would entail fencing and gates, installation of drinking fountains, garbage receptacles and signage.
It would also require an ADA accessible path and site drainage improvements. It's those items that push the cost from what proponents had estimated at $30,000 to an eyebrow-raising $85,000.
McClure said the dog park area and the adjacent ballfield is swampy during the wet season and nearly inaccessible, hence the need for drainage. The ADA path is also needed.
"We don't want to be in a position where you are only going to be able to use this three months a year," McClure said. "We have a high standard for our park facilities and since this is integrated with other uses, we want to make sure citizens can use it."