Letter: EPRD is moving ahead with evaluating dog park proposal

Posted 7/12/22

In early June, the Evergreen Park and Recreation District received a generous offer from Jefferson County Open Space that provides funds to purchase land and install capital improvements for an off-leash dog park.

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Letter: EPRD is moving ahead with evaluating dog park proposal

Posted

In early June, the Evergreen Park and Recreation District received a generous offer from Jefferson County Open Space that provides funds to purchase land and install capital improvements for an off-leash dog park. Specifically, JCOS offered $1 million for land purchase and $0.2 million for capital improvements. A condition of receiving these funds is that EPRD manage the dog park. EPRD appreciates this offer and the work by many, including Friends of Evergreen Dog Park, that resulted in this offer.

At EPRD’s first board meeting on June 28 following the JCOS offer, more than an hour of agenda time was allotted to present this offer to the public and allow discussion by the board and the public. At the end of this discussion, the EPRD board unanimously voted to form a Dog Park Subcommittee consisting of directors Rosenthal and McGhee to look at this opportunity in more detail and to move it along. 

The formation of a subcommittee is not a bureaucratic step to bog this opportunity down in red tape. In fact, it is just the opposite. Under laws that apply to special districts like EPRD, if more than two board members meet to discuss an issue, it must be done in a public meeting. Forming a subcommittee to work on the details of the dog park opportunity eliminates the delay and expense of holding a public meeting every time a new issue needs to be discussed. The subcommittee will involve the entire EPRD board and the public when warranted.

Many details need to be addressed before a new dog park can be opened. JCOS stressed that the $1 million provided can be used to purchase any parcel of land, not just the one near Fillius Park that has already been identified. 

Although the parcel near Fillius Park looks promising, EPRD needs to determine if other suitable parcels are available. Many other details need to be considered before opening a dog park including controlling access to the area, developing a management plan for the day-to-day operation of the park, addressing potential environment impacts such as wildlife migration and water quality, assessing the economics of operating a dog park, applying for and obtaining the necessary permits from Jefferson County to develop and open the dog park, coordinating with Jefferson County animal control to obtain an ordinance exemption that allows for an off-leash dog park, providing adequate parking for dog park patrons, installing the capital improvements for the park such as perimeter fencing, and obtaining public input on opening a dog park at a specific location. 

Given the number and variety of issues that need to be addressed, it is not yet possible to state when or even if a new dog park will be opened. Getting more clarity on the feasibility and timeline for an off-leash dog park is the new subcommittee’s top priority.

 The high usage of the now-closed dog park on Stagecoach Drive demonstrates that the demand for an off-leash dog park is strong. EPRD wants any new dog park that is opened to avoid the fate of the last park of being opened then closed. For this reason, we ask for the community’s patience, support and constructive involvement as we address the issues and requirements associated with opening a new dog park. 

Don Rosenthal

President, EPRD Board of Directors and co-member of ERPD Dog Park Subcommittee

Mary McGhee

Treasurer, EPRD Board of Directors and co-member of ERPD Dog Park Subcommittee

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