Fur flies over proposed dog park

A proposed dog park in Grove City had a a lot of residents barking about the site.

Grove City officials held a public meeting on May 8 at City Hall to gather input on a dog park. The park would be located west of Demorest Road and south of Marsol Avenue, near the horse stables at Beulah Park.

Water issues

Residents from the Rush Creek and Westgrove subdivisions said the city needs to address the drainage issues before anything else is done. Several years ago, the city bought the parcel of property to take care of the 100-year flood area. They put in a large retention pond designed to address flooding issues.

Kim Conrad, Grove City Parks and Recreation director, who led the meeting, said she was told the drainage issues were taken care of and the area would be perfect for a park. Residents say the water issues have not been properly addressed. Some said every time it rains, the properties flood.

"We didn’t know this problem existed," said Council President Ted Berry.

The dog park

Conrad explained that a dog park is just an idea. There is no funding for the project.

"There is a huge number of people interested in a dog park in Grove City," said Conrad.

Those people do not include the residents who live around the proposed site.

Conrad explained that the size of the proposed park is roughly over four acres. It would include a fenced in open area where dogs could run off-leash. It would be a double-gated system so dogs could not get out. There would be a section for smaller dogs (20 pounds or under).

The park would also include some trees and benches and possibly some equipment for the pooches to play with. Conrad said there had been talk about a children’s play area with pet-themed equipment, a walking path and a waterfall for the dogs to cool off.

Residents from the subdivisions surrounding the park say find another site.

"A dog park is great but this is not the place for it," said Katherine Wexler who lives on Marsol Avenue. "I bought my house because there was nothing behind it."

Wexler said she is concerned about the traffic the park would bring in.

"Who’s going to volunteer to have a parking lot in the back of their house?"

Other residents echoed her concerns. They said not only would it bring in people from all over the area, it would bring in a lot of noise, specifically barking dogs. They said a neighborhood, with children, is not the ideal place for a dog park.

They would rather see a regular park, with playground equipment and a walking path. Something small that would not require additional parking and bring in people from all over central Ohio.

Some Grove City residents say they want the dog park.

"A dog park is something unique," said Marianne Kapes, who has lived in Grove City for 18 years. "It is a great experience for dogs and owners. For a lot of people, their dogs are their babies. Grove City needs a dog park."

Leslie Cohen-Smith has lived in Grove City for 25 years. She said a dog park would bring people and money into the city. She also said there are plenty of places for children, such as school playgrounds, the Skate Park and the Big Splash.

"Give us a place," said Cohen-Smith. "There are plenty of parks for kids. Build something for our dogs too."

Cohen-Smith said she has no children – she has dogs. She has to drive far away to take them to a dog park.

The next step

Berry said the city will schedule a meeting with its service director and engineers to review the water issues at the site.

"Once those issues are resolved, we will look at what to do with the land," said Berry.

Conrad said the city does not have any additional land appropriate for a dog park at this time. There are no other dog parks in the Southwest area.

Dogs are not prohibited from any park in Grove City. They are required by law to be confined on a leash.

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