On behalf of a group of citizens interested in raising funds for a permanent dog park, Julia West, Washington, addressed the park board at its December meeting.
West questioned whether Burger Park could remain a year-round dog park.
She told the board that a group that uses Burger Park as a dog park hesitates to raise funds until there is a permanent location where a shelter and structures can be set up.
Because Burger Park is on top of a landfill, there are strict limitations as to what can and can’t be done to the land, she said, adding that the group is researching those limitations.
The dog owners would like running water and permanent structures at the park.
“A lot of people are OK with keeping (the dog park) at Burger Park,” West said, “but it needs water, shade and a bathroom.” West added that the park needs to be open year-round.
There are no funds set aside for a dog park; however, the parks department has been exploring possible locations for a year-round park.
Darren Dunkle, parks director, said citizens can use Burger Park as a dog park about nine months of the year.
“We don’t want to rush into (choosing a location),” he said, adding that it may take some time. “We want to do our due diligence to make sure we find the right location.”
Staff has looked into a piece of property near the wastewater treatment plant, but a baseball league has a lease on the property and has expressed interest in creating new fields in the area.
“We’re still looking and searching for other areas in the city where a permanent dog park would make sense,” Dunkle said.
West said there are a lot of mosquitoes by the treatment plant, which can transmit heartworms to dogs. Additionally, there is an odor, which may discourage people from using the park if it is located in the area.
“I’m convinced that the city wants to do a dog park and that it will happen. We just want it in the best possible location and as soon as possible,” she said.
The group has a Facebook page, which can be accessed by searching Washington MO Dog Park Group.
The group of dog owners also plan to attend the Jan. 3 park board meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. at city hall.