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Space for little pooches sought in dog park upgrades

New improvements to the Woodbury off-leash dog park drew some public comments last week suggesting more fencing, a small dog area and paved trails.

The city is proposing to spend about $335,000 on the project that may provide some peace of mind to dog owners and users of the park.

“They want to be assured once they unclip that leash, they have that security of a fenced area,” assistant parks and recreation director Mike Adams said.

Not included in the current plan is a restroom facility, though attendees of a public meeting last week emphasized it should be a priority.

But Adams said the city doesn’t have enough use data to justify building restrooms and picnic shelters, two design options for future improvements.

What’s evident throughout the park, though, is how filthy it can get with pet waste, attendees said April 14 at City Hall.

“Right now the park is full of excrement,” Karyl Brod said. “Obviously people aren’t picking it up. But why aren’t they picking it up?”

About 30 dog owners pleaded with the city to increase the presence of trash cans throughout the park and add plastic bag dispensing stations to encourage users to pick up after their four-legged friends.

Some say they don’t visit the park because they don’t feel safe with their small dogs and encouraged the city to make the park’s regulations known to outside visitors who may bring aggressive dogs.

One resident said she has chased people away from the park because their dogs got too violent with the others.

“You have to come up with a creative idea on how to monitor,” Brod said.

Another resident claimed there’s been hunting around the area as well.

“We certainly don’t want hunting in a dog park,” Adams said.

The city is also proposing to pave the trails, but the budget may not cover all expenses to do everything at once.

Priority will be given to the 5-foot fence and a small dog area with a 4-foot fence, based on resident feedback last week.

“A small dog area is a good place to start socializing a small dog,” Chuck Rylee said. “Then they can go to a large park.”

A paved trail, though not on top of the priority list, would make it much easier to keep the park clean, Adams said, because park maintenance staff would be able to drive equipment on paved trails to pick up 75-pound trash cans filled with pet waste.

Another plan that would not impact the dog park, but is included in the open space area adjacent, is a tree nursery that will act as a resource for various city parks and open spaces.

The plan also includes a fully paved parking lot, something that all attendees of the meeting last week agreed was a necessity to get rid of the existing muddy surface.

Adams said he will figure out what fits in the budget before announcing any final plans for the dog park.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.