A dog park in the city of Green Lake came one step closer to becoming a reality Monday.
The Plan Commission unanimously approved a site location for a dog park in the area behind the tennis courts and baseball diamond, near the Public Works Department’s storage building. The proposed location will move to the Common Council next week.
Kent Strong, who is on the Green Lake Parks and Recreation Board and the ad hoc Economic Development committee, has been spearheading the work on developing a dog park in Green Lake.
He was on-hand Monday to address the Plan Commission’s concerns and questions. According to Strong, the area behind the tennis courts and baseball diamond was recommended due to its proximity to downtown.
The site also features parking, access to water and is located far enough away from residential areas to avoid noise complaints, according to a document given to the Common Council last month.
The document, which provides a preliminary look at the project’s basic components, said the dog park would be enclosed by a 6-foot chain link fence with a bottom bar and an 8-foot by 8-foot double gate for entry and exit.
It added that the park would feature four benches, be open from dawn to dusk, would not require a permit to use and would require dogs to have proof of rabies vaccinations.
“It’s downtown, within walking distance, and we’re trying to encourage people to go downtown,” Mayor Ray Radis said. “It’s mostly, I think, for the people coming here that are tourists and visitors, [but] I do see some of the people from town using it.”
Strong said his goal in looking for locations for a dog park was to keep it inside city limits and to utilize land that already was owned by the city.
Strong sought approval for the location in order to move forward with formulating a more concrete plan for the space. If the Common Council approves the location, he anticipates returning to the Plan Commission for approval of a site plan.
“With that, I can go out and get some more specific information on exactly where we want the fence line to be; I can tell you specifically how many benches we’re going to have and how many waystations,” Strong said of the next time he would seek Plan Commission approval.
Strong said the proposed site would be smaller than the ideal space, but still is workable.
He explained that the ideal site would allow for one acre of space, so it could segregate the park for large dogs and small dogs.
The dog park behind the tennis courts would encompass roughly 3/4 of an acre and would be a “one-size-fits-all” dog park, Strong said.
He described the dog park as more of an area for dog owners to allow their pets to go “off leash” and be around other dogs.
“Someone can take their dog there [to] socialize with other dogs there,” he said. “It’s not like it’s going to have a swingset and a bunch of ramps.”
While it may be smaller than ideal, Ald. George King, who is on the Plan Commission, thought it was plenty spacious.
“I took a walk out there, [and] I was surprised how large the area actually was,” he said.
In terms of funding for the project, Strong said Green Lake High School student Eric Olmen is pursuing his Eagle Scout rank and wants to make the dog park his final project by helping with fundraising.
In addition, Strong told the Plan Commission that he’s found a private donor who is willing to cover the rest of the cost.
The only cost to the city would be for ongoing maintenance, such as mowing and garbage pick-up.
The determining factor for when the dog park opens is the timetable on getting the fence installed, Strong said.
He added that the dog park will be a benefit to the community on multiple levels.
“There’s a social demand and it’s my understanding that there is a benefit to the community having a dog park when it comes to grant writing,” Strong said.