Spencer pondors dog park development

Monday, July 17, 2006

With new faces in the form of three of its five members, the Spencer Park Board met this week to discuss matters such as dog parks and trails proposed within the city limits. New board members Kim Bates, John Zinn and Mark Boyd hit the ground running with a variety of fresh issues for the board.

Megan Whitaker approached the board with the notion of incorporating a dog park either in a Spencer park or on city property. The owner of two dogs, she explained the "norm" for dog parks across the nation is a fenced-in area measuring between one and five acres where dogs are allowed to play off their leashes. Within Iowa's borders, such parks have already been established in Runnells, Sioux City, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Marion and West Des Moines.

When Whitaker asked for their permission to form a committee to explore the idea of creating a dog park from private funding, she also noted that several people have already agreed to join her on it.

When Spencer Park and Recreation Director Delray Bredehoeft noted that money is not currently in the budget for such an undertaking, Whitaker said the dog parks she's familiar with have generally been funded from donations and fund-raisers.

"They're usually a city entity that is run by volunteers and private donations," she said.

Board member Larry Clausen asked if an area could eventually be portioned off for a pet cemetery as well - a suggestion first brought to the table by Ted Cate on Dec. 9, 2003.

"I've thought about that too. That could also be an idea for a fund-raiser," Whitaker replied. "You buy a plot on the private part of the dog park where the dogs can't run, and your money goes to support the park. So, yeah, it could be in conjunction with a pet cemetery."

"If it's going to be a cemetery where somebody's going to place their animal into a plot, and it's going to be forever, now you've got to plat it. You get into some cost issues there," Bredehoeft said.

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