Proposed land swap between two cities should give Northland dogs a place to run leash-free

09/03/2013 12:00 AM

09/01/2013 6:28 PM

The Kansas City Council is poised to approve an ordinance that would let the city acquire the property where one of its most iconic landmarks stands, and the deal also could lead to a new dog park for North Kansas City.

Kansas City owns and maintains the Children’s Fountain on the southern tip of Waterworks Park. But the land it’s on at North Oak and Northeast 32nd streets is technically in North Kansas City.

A proposed ordinance would create a joint venture between Kansas City and North Kansas City that would benefit each city, through annexation and de-annexation. Kansas City would acquire the land where the Children’s Fountain is located. In exchange, North Kansas City would get four acres of property at Northeast 32nd and Swift Avenue, where officials plan to develop a leash-free dog park.

“It makes a lot of sense,” said Councilman Ed Ford. “They’ve identified what they think is the best location is property (for a dog park) that just happens to be within our city limits.”

The measure cleared one hurdle last week when a Kansas City council committee approved a pair of ordinances that would initiate the exchange. However, the measures were put on hold while city staff worked out several legal and public safety concerns. The full council is expected to take up the ordinances on Thursday, Ford said.

The Children’s Fountain, dedicated in 1995, is one of the largest fountains in the metropolitan area. The $2 million project features the sculptures of six kids — modeled after real Northland children — playing and dancing on pedestals.

The proposed off-leash dog park would include two fenced-in areas, parking for 33 vehicles, an open shelter, a drinking fountain and a dog training area. Kansas City would help maintain and keep up the property, and Kansas City residents could use the park.

“This has been an amicable back and forth,” said Danny Rotert, city spokesman. “It is a good relationship between the two cities, so this is a no-brainer.”

North Kansas City will have to approve a similar ordinance to annex the land for the dog park and de-annex the fountain property, said Mike Smith, North Kansas City assistant city administrator.

“They felt that if they were going to make this capitol investment they would sure like to have it in their city and we agree,” Smith said. “It is part of a good working relationship between Kansas City and North Kansas City, so it was in the best interest of the community as a whole.”

In March, the North Kansas City Council agreed to use $270,000 from the city’s gaming and park fund to build the dog park. Work is expected to be finished by next spring.

Several dog parks are south of the Missouri River, including Penn Valley Park in south Kansas City and in Blue Springs.


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