Leawood City Council wants cheaper approach to new dog park

04/09/2013 4:14 PM

05/20/2014 10:42 AM

The city of Leawood is setting aside $300,000 for a high-end dog park on donated land at 10601 Lee Blvd. but after a lengthy discussion Monday, the City Council agreed on a more minimalist, and cheaper, approach.

The council spent Monday night’s work session envisioning what the off-leash city dog park should look like.

“It’s a great day to talk about a dog park,” said Councilwoman Julie Cain, who earlier in the day walked around the recently staked land with parks and recreation director Chris Claxton and parks superintendent Brian Anderson.

The park will be located on eight acres east of Leawood City Park. The plot, which is being donated by Hallbrook Office Center LLC, sits across Indian Creek between College Boulevard to the south, State Line Road to the east and the State Line exit ramp off Interstate 435 to the north. Work is expected to begin in 2014 with a completion date in early 2015.

The city has earmarked $150,000 for the dog park in both the fiscal 2014 and 2015 budget. The actual cost is likely to be lower as that $300,000 figure includes high-end amenities like lighting and and play structures for the dogs.

The council agreed that for now, they would not plan on those amenities. The council opted to recommend fencing in the entire eight acres with either a three or four-foot flat panel fence at an estimated cost of $50,000. The council also asked Claxton to explore locations for several seating options, including benches and picnic tables, and waste disposal stations.

“Let’s keep it as natural as simple as we can,” said Councilwoman Debra Filla. “This is a chance to go on a country walk.”

Said Councilman James Azeltine: “I’d like to take a minimalist approach. Let’s see what kind of turnout we get and then adjust it accordingly.”

While the wooded areas within the plot would need to be cleared of fallen or dangerous limbs, the council opted to leave an approximately one-third of an acre pond on the south side untouched. Mayor Peggy Dunn cautioned that an untreated pond could be unsightly in summer.

“I think it would take a lot of work to keep it nice,” said Dunn. “If we leave it natural, you might not like how it looks.”

The council also discussed potentially dividing the space into separate parks for small and large dogs or two spaces that could be rotated to allow for maintenance without shutting down the entire park.

Councilman Louis Rasmussen thought the dog park should be half the proposed eight acres, which he thought was unwieldy for handling dogs.

“In my opinion, a total facility of four acres is perfect for this location and controlling your dog,” Rasmussen said. “It’s a matter of control and sanitation.”

He noted the size of other area off-leash dog parks like Happy Tails, which sits on four acres in Lee’s Summit.

In the end, the council agreed on the entire eight acres.

“I would like as large an area as possible,” said Cain. “I would hope that we could use more than four acres.”

Claxton said that no additional parking would be needed for the dog park as a lot adjacent to the basketball courts just west of Indian Creek could be used by dog owners. Cain suggested that a water fountain with faucets for dogs and people could also be located by the courts.

The Department of Parks and Recreation will next explore fencing options and look at when clearing the wooded area within the park’s property line could be scheduled in relation to other project commitments.

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