Middletown dog park plans take step forward

3:08 p.m Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 Middletown
Emma McClung, 15, puts Sadie’s paw print on a Middletown Division of Police cruiser during Middletown’s National Night Out this past summer. Middletown City Council will soon give consideration for future improvements at Miami Park that include a new dog park.

Middletown City Council will soon give consideration for future improvements at Miami Park that include a new dog park.

Jeff Repper of the Middletown Young Professionals gave a presentation to council on the proposal to create the dog park as well as to raise funds to pay for it.

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Repper said fundraising will start once council gives its final approval at its Sept. 19 meeting.

Middletown City Council will soon give consideration for future improvements at Miami Park that include a new dog park.

“It wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be (to get the necessary approvals),” he said. “I hope it gets approved. I think it would be a significant draw for the city.”

The proposal has been nearly two years in the making since the organization first presented the idea to city officials. They noted that a dog park would be beneficial to the quality of life for city residents as well as become a regional draw. The organization also said a dog park could be an incentive for young professionals and families to move into the city.

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According to a staff report from Scott Tadych, public works and utilities director, various locations were evaluated before deciding on Miami Park.

Middletown Young Professionals developed a conceptual plan, details of various features, the necessary size needed, the maintenance required, and sample dog park rules and regulations.

The proposed dog park would take up about three acres and would include three fenced sections, two for larger dogs, and one for smaller dogs, according to the conceptual plan. The park would feature a shelter, water fountains, benches, signage, trash barrels and a dog wash station.

The Middletown Young Professionals said the costs for the dog park improvements would be about $117,000. The organization is planning to raise $130,000, with the balance being used for continued maintenance of the dog park. They plan to seek corporate sponsorships, community funding and grants for the project. The organization already has a non-profit status and any donations would be tax deductible, Repper said.

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The conceptual plan was presented to the city’s Park Board at its June 2017 meeting. Among the plan’s components were the dog park features as well as upgrades to the park’s playground equipment, replacing the existing basketball court and other landscaping improvements.

The Park Board was supportive of the project, but wanted to get input from neighboring residents adjacent to the park.

A Park Board meeting was held Aug. 7, in which nearly 20 residents gave their feedback about the proposed project. The feedback was generally positive, according to Tadych.

During that meeting, residents requested additional items be included in the proposed plan: more security lighting in the park; new sidewalks along Miami Avenue and the ramp from University Boulevard to the Reinartz Boulevard overpass; eliminate the basketball court; and remove vegetation by the Reinartz Boulevard overpass for crime prevention purposes.