The site plan for a future dog park in Mayville has been approved by the Planning Commission. In the meeting last Wednesday, Dec. 13, the commission reviewed two potential locations for the park, both on TAG Center property, adjacent to the parking lot.
The site plan which had the park located directly east of the east parking lot was chosen and approved. “We were approached about a year ago by some dog enthusiasts in town about creating an area for dogs to exercise and run,” said Mike Kurutz, director of parks and recreation.
“Right now, dogs are not allowed in parks, per city ordinance.” Kurutz was directed to evaluate existing city property for a potential site for the dog park. “I looked at all of our existing park land and open space on all ends of town, and basically, the site that seemed to work the best for the area that would be needed was found to be the open space out by the TAG Center,” Kurutz said.
Plan options were drawn up and presented to the Planning Commission earlier this year, and feedback was received. “Early on, we did receive a couple of emails from neighbors in the Emmer Street area about potential noise and smell, and I want to make you aware of that,” Kurutz said to the commission.
“But of any of our existing park plans, this is probably the furthest distance from residential that we have.” The City did evaluate land in the industrial park, though it was determined that it was not in the best interest of the City to take up land with development potential.
The Planning Commission had previously agreed that the TAG Center property was ideal for the dog park, so selecting between the two proposals was the decision which needed to be made last Wednesday. “We’re here to pick a site so that [the Wag ‘n Tag Fundraising Committee] can start raising money,” said alderman and planning commission member Bob Smith.
Smith explained that the original site proposal was just north of the TAG Center parking lot, directly adjacent to a farm field. Concerns about inhibiting the farming process were raised, as well as the thought that there is benefit to having the park visible from the road. Kurutz had the opportunity to discuss the potential for a dog park with many of his counterparts at a state conference earlier this fall.
“[Dog parks] are super popular,” Kurutz said. “They’re something that dog owners need, and communities want.” The feedback Kurutz received was that the biggest expense with many dog parks is parking. The selected TAG Center site will eliminate the need for a separate parking lot, which will save significantly on costs.
Mayville resident Bill Hartwig represented a team of citizens who plan to raise the funds to build the park. The team is called the Wag ‘n Tag Fundraising Committee. “We were driving to different cities to go to a dog park,” Hartwig said to the commission. “Mayville is big enough, we should have our own.” Planning Commission member John Gable asked Hartwig how much use he anticipated the park would get, and whether there would be hours of use.
“Every time we’ve gone to a dog park, there’s been a pretty constant flow,” Hartwig said. “We’re Mayville,” Kurutz added. “It’s going to be used, but over the course of a day, it won’t be crazy.” Park hours are proposed to be from dawn until dusk daily, and there will be no cost to use the facility. “We’re thinking about putting a donation box up to help with costs,” Hartwig said.
Planning Commission member Dolores Neumeyer asked about the City’s liability if a dog bites or injures someone, or another dog. “As long as we’re doing everything in our ability to not be negligent, we don’t have liability,” said Mayor Rob Boelk. “And there will be signage.” Kurutz reminded the group that there have been incidents in other parks in the past with dogs, and that the City had no liability. “Dogs are very territorial, but a place like this is neutral,” Kurutz said.
“They’re running; they’re exercising.” Kurutz asked Hartwig how many conflicts he’s seen while visiting other dog parks. “I haven’t seen any,” Bill said. “Especially with the separate space for big dogs and little dogs, and, like the Mayor said, signage.” “People are using Ziegler park as a dog park, and that’s not what we want,” Smith said. “I see people out on our ball diamonds training their dogs or letting their dogs run because of the fencing,” Kurutz said.
“I tell them they shouldn’t be doing that, and they ask where [they can go]. I don’t have a place for them.” Cleanup is a concern, according to Kurutz, but he has attended sessions related to dog parks at the conference he attended, and has been encouraged by what he’s learned. “The sessions I went to were hosted by bigger areas, like Waukesha County, and Dane County,” Kurutz said. “Their maintenance staff has not spent one minute picking up feces on the grounds.
The pet owners police the areas. Traditionally, that’s just one of those unwritten rules. If somebody doesn’t pick up after their pet, they’re usually policed by their peers.” Kurutz did add that one of the requirements will be that dogs would need to be licensed to use the facility.
With the approval of the site plan to the east of the TAG Center lot by the Planning Commission, the go-ahead has been given to the citizen’s group to move forward with fundraising efforts for the park. “At the end of the day, this group needs to have a site that they can go out and raise money for,” Kurutz said. “It would be up to the City Council to approve the rules and the operation.” According to Hartwig, the total cost estimate is somewhere around $10,000.
The estimate includes around $5,000 for fencing, and an additional $5,000 to $8,000 for agility equipment and benching. Where will the money come from to build the park? “My committee will go out and we’ll raise it,” Hartwig said. Fundraising efforts are beginning immediately to fund the park.
For additional information or to pledge to donate, contact the Wag ‘n Tag Fundraising group via Facebook at ‘@MayvilleWagnTag’ or reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org om or by phone at 920- 296-6418.