Mendota Heights residents push for bigger dog park

After the Tuesday, May 13 meeting before the Mendota Heights Parks and Recreation Commission, one thing is clear: if the city’s going to build a dog park, one acre won’t cut it.

As one resident put it:
“If our only option for a dog park is one acre, I’d rather just not have a dog park at all.”
Of the five options presented to the commission, only the Pilot Knob site was above that one-acre figure that was, as far as most of the attendees of the meeting were concerned, a deal-breaker.
“As a dog owner, we need this space, but my concern was some of these are really small,” said Kathy Lindstrom, a Mendota Heights resident. “An acre is not a lot of space, and we really want dogs to be there and use it.”

With its six acres of space, the Pilot Knob site, located south of Mendota Plaza, is by far the largest site of the five. One downside is the site’s only current parking is on nearby streets.

An activity that needs a place

Mendota Heights, like many other cities in the metro area, hopes to add a community gathering place for people with one common interest: dogs.

The city’s public meeting last week at City Hall covered possible locations for a public dog park.

Another suggestion residents presented was to make city hockey rinks, already surrounded by board walls, leash-free zones during warmer months.

Some said they could receive citations (tickets) from the police if they tried to use the unoccupied rinks as mock dog parks; they’d like that changed, especially if the Pilot Knob site doesn’t come through. 

It wasn’t the first time the idea was brought up. The City Council considered opening hockey rinks to dogs and their owners at its meeting Nov. 19, 2013, but discarded the idea.
Then, the council agreed a dog park would indeed be added to the city, but it’s still unclear where it will go. 

Commission chair Pat Hinderscheid brought attention to the indecision with a little sarcasm at the meeting: “It’s incredibly easy, because everyone is in agreement.”

The commission will review the five options, any additional ideas from past meetings, and resident input. From there, the group will pick an option to recommend to the council at a later date.

Tim Faklis can be reached at 651-748-7814, at tfaklis@lillienews.com, or on Twitter @ tfaklis news.

 

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