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Crosslakers: Group looks into dog park requirements

So, just what is a dog park? The working group found out a dog park is a public park, typically fenced, where people and their dogs can play together. As the name implies, a park offers dogs an off-leash play area where their owners can enjoy a park-like setting and the chance to socialize with other canines and their owners. PineandLakes.com Illustration1 / 2
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When the Crosslakers were working with the Minnesota Design Team last summer to take the pulse of the community regarding new services residents would like to see in Crosslake, a dog park was identified as something that would be very beneficial for the community.

So, the Crosslakers formed a working group to investigate the possibility of building a dog park here.

Its first task was to see what experiences other towns our size had with dog parks. That research was an eye-opener. It turns out that dog parks are a very popular amenity among local citizens. In fact, the working group has learned that some Crosslake citizens travel to other communities to take their dogs to dog parks.

So, just what is a dog park? The working group found out a dog park is a public park, typically fenced, where people and their dogs can play together. As the name implies, a park offers dogs an off-leash play area where their owners can enjoy a park-like setting and the chance to socialize with other canines and their owners.

Dog parks, which are sometimes managed by park users in conjunction with city or town officials, are being established all over the country and offer a wealth of benefits to dogs, dog owners and the community as a whole.

The working group learned that dog parks have rules and regulations that must be developed, publicized and followed. Budgets must be developed and funding sources identified. And most importantly, a suitable location must be found.

Beginning in early 2017, the group researched rules, construction design and the potential cost of the park. It then developed an initial budget to operate the park and has met with the Parks And Library Foundation of Crosslake to discuss funding. Here are some of the things the group has learned:

• It will cost somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000 for fencing and infrastructure to build the dog park. This money must be raised by donations, grants and user permits.

• The Crosslake City Council must approve the creation of the dog park. Once approved, the dog park would be maintained by the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

• Finding a site for the park is the most difficult challenge since it must be located on public land for insurance purposes. The ideal site is easily accessible and at least partly in the shade with access to water and electricity. Some residents don't want the park located near their homes while others would welcome the amenity.

The group is now working with the city to find a suitable site. Several options are being explored but are on property owned by other governmental bodies, which would have to enter into a joint agreement with the city to allow the park to exist on their land.

• Once a site has been determined, the Crosslake City Council has approved a joint operating agreement and the money to build the park has been raised, then rules and regulations to operate the park would need to be formalized.

• Some parks require that all dogs must be up to date with all vaccinations.

• Some parks require users to pay an annual user fee to help cover ongoing maintenance costs.

• Signs listing the rules and regulations would need to be posted and a system of enforcement developed.

Once all of these hurdles have been cleared, Crosslake dog owners will have a place to gather to enjoy their canine friends.

For more information about the Crosslakers, go to www.crosslakers.com.

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