By Gary Budzak
Delaware City Council has heard a presentation from its Dog Park Committee, but opted not to make a decision.
Council members cited having too much on their plate and not having everyone present (two of the seven were absent) at the Monday meeting. City Manager Tom Homan said even if a choice were made, it would be unlikely that ground would be broken in 2014, due to other park projects.
Established in 2013, the committee made its recommendation after seven months of meetings and research.
“We are in total agreement that Blue Limestone Park is the best possible and most economically feasible choice for the Delaware Dog Park,” Dog Park Committe chair Lori Midkiff told Council. “The committee recognizes that putting the park at Blue Limestone is the most cost-effective option and feels it can be accomplished with the current budget.”
Council approved a budget of $75,000 to establish a dog park, and asked the committee to give its top three choices.
A dog park in Blue Limestone Park, an already developed city park in the center of Delaware, would be on three acres and divided into separate fenced areas for small and large dogs. The committee noted that Blue Limestone already has updated permanent restrooms, easy water access for dogs and people, existing shade trees and grassy areas, and adequate paved parking.
One resident at the meeting objected to Blue Limestone, saying it should be kept as a community park.
The committee’s second choice was the 4.5-acre Mill Run Wetlands, which is near the city’s eastern border. The committee noted that site has no restrooms, no easy access to water, no shade trees, and a gravel parking space. “Land would need to be graded, seeded, and rested to establish proper turf, which could take at least two years,” Midkiff said.
A third choice, five acres on Curve Road, was deemed unsuitable by the committee, but preferable to a site on Cherry Street. Curve Road had a similar lack of amenities, was close to a former landfill and would require purchasing water supplied by Delco Water Co.
The committee estimated it would cost $75,000 to establish a park at Blue Limestone, and more than $150,000 at either Mill Run or Curve Road.
In addition, the committee surveyed the directors of six dog parks, and were advised that any dog park should have adequate parking, shade, be properly maintained and have rules posted. It was said that owners not following the rules caused more problems than the pooches, and there were no problems with dog odors or barking.
Responding to a question by Council, City Attorney Darren Shulman said the city was insured to have a dog park.
Midkiff said the committee would not meet again until Council made a decision. The committee might then turn into a fundraising group.
“This committee did so much work,” said Councilwoman Lisa Keller. “Now (Council will) just think about it. It doesn’t feel right. At some point we have to make a decision.”
“You’ve validated the need for a dog park,” Homan said to the committee members.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.