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Hoisington Council gives nod to dog park grant
new vlc DogParkLocation
The proposed dog park would be located in this northwest corner of Bicentennial Park within the area where a walking trail currently exists. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Here’s a quick look at what happened at the Hoisington city Council meeting Monday night:

• Approved the consent agenda which included the minutes of the June 11 meeting, and a permit for July 13-14 for the consumption of cereal malt beverage at 604 Monroe for a wedding reception.

• Accepted the 2018 audit report from Summers, Spencer and Company as presented.

• Approved a motion to allow the city to apply for a $25,000 grant to install a dog park at the Bicentennial Park walking path area.

• Discussed the governing body’s priorities for the 2018 fiscal year, and approved a schedule for five work study meetings leading up to creation of a budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

• Heard an update from City Manager Jonathan Mitchell on various projects the city is involved in, including installation of a water softening facility, a request by the Osage Nation to perform a cultural impact study in relation to the lift station project, application for a grant to install sidewalk between the high school stadium and Town and Country grocery store and speed limit signs at the east, west and south entrances to the city, and an anonymous grant of $5,000 for the cemetery fence project.

HOISINGTON — A suggestion made nearly three years ago to open a dog park in the city of Hoisington hasn’t been forgotten. Monday night, the Hoisington City Council took a significant step toward making the dream a reality when it approved allowing the city to apply for a $25,000 grant to be applied toward fencing and amenities for a dog park similar to those in neighboring cities.
In 2015, Sarah Hinman, Hoisington, asked the city to consider installing a dog park. The council was supportive of her proposed efforts but no city dollars were committed. Then, in July, 2017, the Dr. Lindsey Mitchell, who operates Hoisington Veterinary Hospital, began looking into what it would take to install a dog park at her facility south of Hoisington. While the city council was receptive of that idea and it appeared grant money could be applied for to cover the costs of the installation, it was soon discovered that the cost of routine maintenance would be prohibitive.
City Manager Jonathan Mitchell, Dr. Mitchell’s husband, addressed the issue with council members that night.
The additional cost of mowing and cleaning the dog park was estimated to be an additional $100 per mowing, which would add up to several thousand dollars each year. The couple quickly abandoned the idea of requesting the city assist with the mowing because of the perception the public might adopt considering the close ties between the city and the Mitchell family.
Instead, Mitchell proposed two sites at existing parks within the city limits, and a possible funding source to build the park, noting that the dog park would then be part of the city’s already existing maintenance schedule.
The sites were Heritage Park and Bicentennial Park, and Mitchell offered pros and cons for both sites.
Ultimately, the council agreed that the advantages of installing a dog park at Bicentennial Park far outweighed those for the Heritage Park location.
The proposed location would be in the northwest corner of the park, in an area encircled by a portion of the existing walking path.
The location is already heavily utilized and its proximity to K-4 and the Rodeway Inn would be beneficial to travelers. Its distance from neighborhood traffic and its proximity to parking were also pluses.
Mitchell visited the Great Bend Dog Park located in Veterans Memorial Park, and described the size and amenities the park offered. He also contacted Eldridge Fencing for recommendations on height and type of fencing, and presented an estimate cost of $15,000 to encircle a park measuring 120 feet by 200 feet, with an additional stretch of 200 feet of fencing to divide the park in half to accommodate both small and large dogs.
If the grant is awarded, the remaining dollars could be used to build a shelter similar to the one at Great Bend and to outfit the park with obstacle features dog owners could utilize for dog play and training.
Hoisington Police Chief Kenton Doze asked about regulations and enforcement. Mitchell assured him that he was not worried, noting that enforcement would be no different than on a playground.
Councilman Robert Bruce inquired what liability the city might have in the event of a dog fight. Mitchell said there would be no liability unless for some reason the city was found negligent. Of more concern, he said, is the possibility that a dog owner might simply leave a dog behind there, which has occurred on occasion at other dog parks, he was told by representatives from a shelter in another community.
Bruce also asked how many people would utilize it. Mitchell noted that even during the middle of a week day, the Great Bend facility is used. There are at least 500 registered dogs in Hoisington, so he foresees it would be a welcome addition to the community.
With the July 1 deadline for submitting the grant application quickly approaching, council president Michael Aylward made the motion to approve the request to allow the grant application for the dog park, which was passed by a unanimous council.