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Land could go to the dogs
If you have a pooch and want to take it to a dog park, chances are you’ll have to travel outside of Grove City to do so.
While all of the parks in the city are dog friendly, dog owners say they do not really have a place to go that caters to the canine beyond a leashed walk. But all of that could change in the near future.
On July 25, the parks and recreation department held a public meeting at City Hall to discuss plans to build a park that would feature a large off-leash dog area.
The tentatively titled Demorest Road Community Park is a 22-acre parcel located west of Demorest Road, south of Marsol Avenue and north of Anglebrook Drive. It would feature amenities such as community gardens, multi-use trails, a children’s play area, picnic shelters, a fishing pier and four fenced-in, off-leash areas – two for small dogs and two for large dogs – that would span seven acres.
The opinions given at the meeting, most from residents who live in that neighborhood, were mixed.
Resident Katherine Wexler said she is not opposed to a dog park, but would rather not see one at that site.
“I think the design is awesome, but this is not the location you’re looking for,” she said to park director Kim Conrad and landscape architect Jim Dziatkowicz.
She cited unruly dogs, increased traffic and safety issues as her main reasons for opposition to the plan.
“There’s a lot of activity going on out there already,” she said.
Wexler also wondered why the conceptual design had plans for a fishing pier because the cleanliness of the pond is questionable.
“Sometimes things wash up that you don’t want to see in a public space.”
Conrad said she would take that into consideration when modifying the plan.
Resident Merion Jacob said he was wary of this park being known as a “dog park” because it would attract too many dog owners from other communities.
Conrad said she understands his concern, but what the park is meant to be is a community park with components and an off-leash area.
However, she said, “I can’t tell you that once it hits the Internet it won’t be dubbed as a dog park.”
Jacob asked if they had looked at other locations such as Beulah Park to build a dog park.
Conrad said they have, but the city owns the land where they want to build the Demorest Road Community Road whereas Penn National owns Beulah Park.
She said ideally they want to connect this proposed park to Beulah and then continue that connectivity to the downtown area.
Resident Mary Shaw said she is in favor of the plan.
“I use this space unofficially as a dog park anyway,” she said.
Shaw said she takes her American pit bull there because he needs space to run.
“I’m really excited about this.”
She said that suspicious activity does happen at the location, but believes it will go away if the city develops the area.
“I believe that if you build something beautiful, people will help keep it beautiful.”
She later asked if they would ban certain dogs from the off-leash area because people could get nervous when dogs like hers interact with others. She described her dog as the “best and sweetest thing.”
Conrad said they haven’t considered banning any dogs.
Several residents said they were concerned about the size of the off-leash areas. Others said they didn’t want dogs roaming around and others said they were concerned about whether small dogs would be intimidated by the larger dogs in the area.
Dziatkowicz said dogs would have to be leashed outside the off-leash area. For instance, if owners wanted to take their dogs jogging around the trails, they would have to be leashed.
He also said the areas would be split up.
“Each would have their own bull pen in order to keep the small dogs away from the large dog area,” said Dziatkowicz.
The plans call for the two large dog areas with approximately 2.5 acres of space each. The two small dog areas would have approximately an acre of space each.
The next step in the process, Conrad said, is to apply the comments from the meeting to the plan, figure out the cost, seek funding, and see if city council and administration are in favor of the plan.
The conceptual drawing of Demorest Road Community Park can be found at www.parks.grovecityohio.gov.
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