Monday, November 19, 2012
Plans for Coppell city dog park make headway
A dog park has been the No. 1 citizen request since 2000.
COPPELL A large number of supporters of a proposal for a dog park in Coppell got encouragement as they filled most of the seats at the Nov. 13 city council meeting.
Mayor Karen Hunt told the crowd that the council had discussed the proposed project in a council workshop just prior to the regular meeting and that the council members are “thinking positive.”
Brad Reid, director of Coppell Parks and Recreation; Jack Clark, Park board member; and Tracy Allard, who is leading the drive for the dog park met with the council at the workshop to discuss initial plans.
Reid told the council members that a dog park has been the number one request on citizen surveys since 2000. He said eight cities within a 14-mile radius of Coppell have dog parks.
He said 560 signatures were gathered on a petition favoring a dog park in July and another 250 signatures have been added to an ongoing online petition.
Councilman Bob Mahalik asked Allard how dog parks were funded in other cities. She replied that a survey revealed that only one had required citizen funding. Frisco requires its citizens to fund between $5,000 and $10,000 each year to help defray the cost of ongoing maintenance. The other cities fund the dog parks from city funds and are maintained by a city parks department.
Councilman Gary Roden asked whether the three acre-site at MacArthur Park, the proposed site, would be big enough. Reid said, based on his research, it would be on the “low end of average,” but said no better option has been identified.
Councilman Billy Faught said dog parks in other cities have been successful and that he believes the time is right for Coppell to have a dog park.
The mayor suggested that lighting be added to the proposed budget, which is now estimated at about $250,000.
At the end of the discussion, Reid was advised by the council to finalize plans for the dog park and present them at another work session in January. Reid said he expects the council to formally take action on the dog park in February.
Although not all of the council members stated one way or the other whether they favored a dog park, no opposition was expressed at the council workshop.
Mahalik wore a “Dog Park Now” sticker on his jacket during the regular council meeting.
Five supporters of the dog park proposal spoke briefly during the citizens’ appearances portion of the regular council meeting.
Bill Duggan said he is a senior citizen and that a dog park would benefit elderly and disabled people who are not physically able to provide sufficient exercise for their animals.
Julie McCan, who said she takes her pets to the Lewisville dog park, said a dog park would also provide an opportunity for residents to become better acquainted with each other.
Evn and Steve Bauer both said that there is a growing trend among homebuyers to consider whether the city has a dog park when considering locating within a city.
Reid said the council may recommend that a citizens group be formed to oversee activities at the dog park, such as making sure it is kept clean and that people pick up after their animals.
Details of the proposed dog park have not yet been formulated. Some supporters are proposing that it have three areas, including one for very small dogs, one for medium size dogs and one for large dogs.
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