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Mitchell approves new dog park

January 12, 2019

MITCHELL — Local residents will soon have a place to exercise their dogs as members of the Mitchell City Council approved a proposal to build a dog park in the town.

Meeting in special session Thursday evening, council members agreed to “pursue it and do it,” as Mayor Dave Curtis said. “Without a $10,000 private donation this never would have happened.”

The potential for a dog park was first brought to the attention of the council by the Common Grounds Dog Park Committee, which had also headed the project to site a park in Gering. The group is committed to locating dog parks in communities around the region.

The Common Grounds Mitchell proposal has the group purchasing the land for the dog park, erecting fence and other outbuildings. It would then be turned over the city for operation.

“We estimated it could cost the city from $10,000 to $15,000 a year to operate,” Curtis said. “We still need to negotiate with the group on what’s expected from each of us and how much the city will put into maintenance so it will be affordable.”

Mitchell City Administrator Perry Mader met earlier with Common Grounds. He said the biggest key is the cost to the city for things such as mowing, watering and maintaining the facilities at the site.

The Common Grounds Dog Park Committee had originally asked for permanent restroom facilities to be installed at the park. That was negotiated down to installing a portable facility, a gravel parking lot and maintenance of the existing grass on the three-acre park at 13th Street by the fairgrounds.

There are some original trees on the property, so some of the older ones might need to be taken down.

Curtis said the other major cost will be hiring a new city employee to take care of the park.

The dog park proposal has been in the works for some time. Common Grounds representative Stacy Fischer has met with council members on several occasions. Public input was also solicited.

“We hosted a public hearing to discuss the project a couple of months ago and had about 15 people attend,” Mader said. “Most of them were supportive of the dog park and we got some good input on what their ideas were.”

He said he gets the impression that people would like a place to take their dogs for exercise, plus socialization for both people and pets.”

Fischer with the Common Grounds Dog Park Committee said it was a long process getting everything approved, but now they can start looking at designs and getting the construction started.

“A dog park is another component to your community that might attract people,” Mader said. “It’s a place for people to take their dogs when they’re here for events like the dog show and the balloon festival.”

Curtis said the group would like to get started on the park sometime in early spring.

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