Park Board Will Discuss Dog Park, Strategic Plan Thursday - The Missourian: Local News

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Park Board Will Discuss Dog Park, Strategic Plan Thursday

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Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:00 pm

In February a lease between the Washington Youth Sports Association and the city expired paving the way for a potential dog park.

Parks and Recreations Director Darren Dunkle told the park board at the Feb. 6 meeting that, with the lease expired, the land located on Simmonds Avenue near public works, could become the dog park. During the last park board meeting, however, the board was reminded they have never officially signed off on the location as being the future site of the park

The board is set to discuss the dog park during Thursday’s administration meeting. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. in the lower level of the main stage.

The dog park discussion stems from a request from board member Dan Cassette.

“I want to know if we, as a group, want the ground on the east of town to be a dog park,” Cassette said. “We need to get that to the council so it is a dog park.”

Cassette said the board acts like the dog park is a done deal, but he’s been told the city council has never approved it.

“I’ve been reprimanded two or three times because we talk about that area and we talk about the dog park and it’s never been to the council,” Cassette.

Dunkle said part of the termination agreement with the youth association that the council approved said one of the options for the land would be a dog park.

Councilman Jeff Patke said the council voted on that agreement, but never on the exact location of the dog park.

“We terminated the lease with the youth sports association to look into putting a dog park there, not ‘This is where the dog park is going to go,’ ” Patke said.

In order to clear things up, the park board will discuss the dog park Thursday and make a recommendation to the council.

“I don’t want to tell the people raising money for the dog park that’s where it is if that’s not where it’s at,” Cassette said. “ ... I just want us to be correct when we do this.”

Dunkle said he was unsure if the council actually needed to be involved. The council only has to approve purchases but doesn’t have say as to what goes in parks.

Dunkle said an ordinance wouldn’t be needed, but it might be good to have the council pass a resolution so the dog park location issue is settled.

Strategic Action Plan

The parks department’s strategic action plan could soon be put in place.

After several months reviewing the proposed plan, the board is set to meet Thursday to examine the final portion left for evaluation.

Dunkle has been working on a strategic plan since he took over as director more than two years ago. The park board has been breaking down segments of the plan during several workshops and has just three sections left to evaluate.

The three focus areas left to discuss are parks and recreation services, department staffing and financial investments and funding options.

Once the board reviews the focus areas, Dunkle will go back and make changes. Then, at the April 3 meeting, the board will review the revised copy.

If the final version garners a recommendation of support, the plan will be forwarded on to the April 28 administration/operation meeting before moving on to the May 5 full council meeting.

/local_news