Will there be a dog park in Hudson?
Park Board will discuss issue on May 17 after many residents object to proposed location
HUDSON — Will Fido have a place to hang out in the city?
That question may be answered in the upcoming week when the park board convenes to discuss the possibility of setting up a dog park.
The park board will meet in a virtual meeting on May 17 at 7 p.m. The session can be viewed at https://www.hudson.oh.us/116/Streaming-Video-Meetings.
The board had considered setting up a dog park at Colony Park, 6075 Ogilby Drive, but are now looking at other options after about three-fourths of the residents who spoke at an April meeting expressed concerns about that location.
The park board in April voted to table further discussion until its meeting in May. Before the vote, some members briefly discussed the possibility of putting the dog park at Oak Grove Park.
Several residents who spoke in April expressed concerns about speeding on Stoney Hill and Ogilby drives, as well as the lack of sidewalks along these roads. They were concerned about the safety of people walking to the park, as well as a potential increase in traffic volume in the area due to the dog park being stationed at Colony Park. Some were concerned about how the park would impact the health and safety of children, dog owners and the animals. Others who live in the neighborhood near Colony Park questioned why they were not approached earlier in the process for their opinions about having a dog park next door to them.
Those who favored the park said they felt that dog parks are a good place to meet people and form friendships, and to provide activity for their animal.
After hearing the feedback in April, Park Board chair Tom King said he wanted to "reflect on some of these comments" and "give a little bit more time for additional feedback."
Board member Brett Shriver said he was concerned "we're entering into a situation where residents want it, but not in [their] neighborhood."
He noted he's received suggestions for potential dog park sites that are not in the park board's jurisdiction.
"If it's something that nobody wants in their neighborhood, I'm not sure that we can find a place we can put it," Shriver said.
He added some residents asked about how the park would be managed and whether city staff would work at the site.
"Without hiring staff and expanding the Hudson parks into more of a parks and recreation [department], we're not going to be able to have people at the dog park monitoring who's coming and who's going," Shriver said. "…I've got some very large concerns about even proceeding with a dog park."
Shriver emphasized that money has not been spent on the project yet and no final decision has been made.
While noting he's "supportive" of a dog park, board member Doug Colafella said, "it sounds like there's a considerable traffic problem leading into Colony Park," He added he felt the city needed to "take a hard look" at other locations.
Colafella said he thought Oak Grove Park was "a diamond in the rough," but noted it may entail an added expense.
It has been estimated it would cost $75,000 to $80,000 to put the park at Colony Park.
Shriver suggested the dog park committee re-assess other potential sites that "might be more feasible" while taking into account the concerns raised by residents.
Board member Shannon Navy added the committee should also examine how to ensure the animals are provided a healthy environment and suggested seeking the advice of veterinarians.
Board member Sean McGurr, who is a member of the dog park committee, said if the community opposes putting the park in a residential area and the park board does not want to spend substantially more money, "I'm not sure if [the committee] is going to come back with [a recommendation] that's going to be more suitable."
After touring some parks in June 2020, park board member Linda O'Neil earlier this year said a committee decided the field at Colony Park "would be a prime location for the dog park."
According to O'Neil, Colony Park was singled out because: it has 2.65 acres of land; is rarely used for organized activities; is not as active as other parks; has access to a water supply; has "ample" parking; and has restrooms on site.
The site is also in walking distance of multiple neighborhoods and neighborhoods that are north of the railroad tracks can access the park from a pedestrian bridge.
Some residents who spoke at the meeting in April said the park is a busy place with plenty of traffic already coming in and out.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.