New Brighton considers off-leash dog park

Plans to establish the city of New Brighton’s first off-leash dog park has moved forward.

Earlier this year, the city council voted to direct the parks, recreation and environmental commission to research the possibility of a dog park within the city limits.

According to a directory that was last updated in 2013, there were 60 dog parks in the metro area, all of which offer a unique experiences to dogs and their owners.

There are six dog parks in the cities neighboring New Brighton. Ramsey County operates the Rice Creek Regional Corridor Dog Park in Shoreview and the Woodview Open Space Dog Park in Roseville. Anoka County operates the Locke County Dog Park in Fridley. The City of Shoreview designates the outdoor rinks at Bucher, Wilson and Bobby Theisen Parks as off-leash areas in the off-season.

However, because there are an estimated 3,100 dogs in New Brighton, the city is considering a dog park of its own.

During the March 1 parks, recreation and environmental commissions meeting, assistant parks and recreation director Jason Hicks reported the commissions considerations.

“A number of things that should be considered while researching dog park locations,” said Hicks. “The first is a location that has enough space to accommodate the amount of usage.”

The commission is suggesting a minimum of one acre, which is about the size of a football field.

The second item that needs to be considered is the distance from residences.

“There are two reasons for this, the first is that dogs will bark, and this noise should not impact the neighbors,” said Hicks. “It is also going to bring an increase in traffic because people are going to be driving to that park. We need to have adequate parking for that.”

Access to drinking water, picnic tables and restrooms are also on the city’s list of considerations.

Apart from park amenities and the actual lot, certain considerations need to be made within the city organization.

“The city code needs to be amended,” said Hicks.

Currently, New Brighton City Code does not allow animals to roam in any open site and additional park users will create additional maintenance needs.

“This will be everything from increased turf maintenance to additional trash collection,” said Hicks. “Hopefully people who are bringing their dogs to the parks are picking up after their dogs and putting their disposing in the garbage cans.”

Public Safety is also expecting to see an increase in calls. Although a location away from the neighbors may keep the noise calls low, there will most likely also be calls for aggressive behaviors from both dogs and people.

Both the parks and recreation and the public safety departments believe the lot should be fully enclosed to prevent animal control calls.

“Another piece that needs to be determined is finances as it will not only cost money to build, but also to operate,” said Hicks.

Costs were provided from the construction of two different dog parks in the metro area. The first is Aquatore Park in Blaine.

Because Aquatore Park already had sufficient parking, the city invested $97,691.01 into the infrastructure and furnishings needed to create their dog park.

The City of Brooklyn Park selected a site that was well suited for their needs and invested closer to $10,000 for a perimeter fencing only.

Further consideration will be discussed during future meetings.

Contact Sam Lenhart at [email protected]