Northfield City Council considers moving dog park - Northfield MN: Local

  • Welcome!
    Logout|My Dashboard

Northfield City Council considers moving dog park

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size



Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 10:29 pm | Updated: 11:28 pm, Tue Aug 19, 2014.

The Northfield City Council discussed the possibility of moving the city’s dog park to a new location during its work session Tuesday night.

The existing Northfield Dog Park is located at Babcock Park, but members of the Park and Recreation Advisory Board suggested moving the park to Odd Fellows Park instead.

According to board chair Dale Gehring, members have considered the idea for a year and a half after concerns were raised about how the current dog park affects activities during Defeat of Jesse James Days. Gehring said the board is working to develop the city’s “undeveloped” parks and thought it would be a good time to use the land at Odd Fellows Park for a dog park, citing the presence of trails already at the park and the fact that the location is reasonably centralized for residents.

“People are already using it as a dog park,” he said.

The proposed site would include 12 acres of fenced-in dog park and a parking area outside the fence. While no budget has been created yet, Gehring said he estimated the fencing alone would cost about $13,000, and the board has appropriated $20,000 for the project over the next two years. He added that the board is looking for sponsorships and talking to the Cannon Valley Veterinary Clinic as a possible partner for the park.

There has also been discussion about a multi-use trail that would surround the new planned park outside the fenced area and perhaps connect to other trails. According to Assistant City Engineer Brian Erickson, this trail would start as a woodchip trail but eventually be paved.

While councilors agreed that the current dog park can be a problem during DJJD, they were concerned about the proposed site, which is mostly woods.

“I could spend all day looking for my dog [there],” said Mayor Dana Graham. “It’s an ugly dog park that we have now, but it’s open, and you know where your dog is.”

Councilors also expressed concern about the cost of clearing out the underbrush and making paths clear enough for walkers and their dogs.

Councilor Suzie Nakasian asked about the possibility of creating several smaller dog parks in neighborhoods, which Gehring said the park board has been discussing.

“This could be the first of a series of neighborhood dog parks,” he said.

Councilor Rhonda Pownell asked whether community members had been surveyed about their desires for a dog park, adding that other sites with more wide-open spaces seemed more ideal.

“I’m a little skeptical that [the site] is an appropriate location,” she said.

Councilor Erica Zweifel said that, since the Armstrong Road intersection near the proposed site is so busy, she would like a traffic study to see how the park could affect the intersection.

“It would seem that there were some concerns here that the park board would need to address,” Graham said. “I think it’s a challenge. We’d like to see some other ideas, too.”

Gehring said the board plans to hold neighborhood meetings to gather more feedback about what Northfield residents want for a dog park. The park board will come back to the City Council with a more defined plan at a later council meeting.

© 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • steakholder posted at 1:08 pm on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1677

    I see the news has a poll up asking whether the city should hire a consultant to manage its priorities.

    As I've stated, I think some councilors pursue their personal agendas, no matter what.

    They always have overwhelming support for what they're suing.

    Surveys wouldn't matter, parking or traffic studies wouldn't matter, and the advice of a consultant certainly wouldn't matter either.

  • steakholder posted at 11:51 am on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1677

    Both Rhonda Pownell and Erica Zweifel have voted to spend millions of dollars, on projects like the Tiger Trail, The Bridge Square remodel, etc, etc..

    I don't ever remember either of them expressing concerns about whether we had surveyed the public's opinion regarding these projects, or suggesting that we needed to conduct studies of relevant traffic patterns.

    The narrowing of the Greenvale Bridge was approved by them without any apparent concerns regarding how this might impact traffic flow in the area, even though in my opinion, that seemed to be an obvious question requiring an answer before proceeding.

    Now, having expressed concerns about this dog park project, they seem to suggest that we should not spend $20,000 without the justification of survey information from citizens, and a traffic study.

    That leaves me confused as to their logic in regards to when we need to survey the public and study traffic, and when we don't.

    The only pattern I can discern is that it appears as thought when they like a project, we don't need any sort of study, but when they don't, then we need to study it.

  • Hopeful posted at 11:42 am on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    Hopeful Posts: 247

    There is an old saying, "If it ain't broke don't fix it".

    How about the park board and city council take a step back and realize they aren't playing with monopoly money here but rather taxpayer funds.

    $13,000 for fencing and $20,000 for the project is ALLOT of money! That fact seems to be lost on the park board and council. Spend, spend, spend.

    Seeking sponsors for the park is a great idea but it is unclear if sponsorship dollars will be used in place of taxpayer monies.

    I am sorry if a handful of dogs / dog owners are not able to use the dog park during DJJD (which by the way brings an estimated 100,000 people to town) but there are options available to them such as the Dundas dog park.

    How about the park board focus on repairing the city bike trails or fulfilling the promise of a skate park before spending money on relocating a perfectly fin dog park.

    I was planning on voting for Dale in the fall elections but if he is going to wildly spend taxpayer money and bring this type of project to the table, I may have to re-think my vote.

  • laidoff posted at 8:50 am on Wed, Aug 20, 2014.

    laidoff Posts: 1

    Let's hire a consultant to help us determine the city's priorities?

    Ok, now let's talk about that all important, ever present, city issue, moving the dog park?

    Everyone else puts their lives on hold for 4 days at DJJD, why should our dogs be any different. Leave it where it is.


Reader ToolBox

Forms, Contests and Special Content

Northfield News Forms

Contact Us

Northfield News

115 W. Fifth St., Northfield, MN 55057
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Publisher and Editor
Sam Gett, 507-645-1112
Lauran Rott, Rice County ad manager, 507-645-1110
Joan Koester, advertising consultant, 507-645-1103
Megan Zwolenski, advertising consultant, 507-645-1114,
Kris Johnson, circulation manager, 507-333-3125
Chris Lee, customer service, 507-645-1107
Susan Palmer, district manager, 507-333-3106
Jerry Smith, managing editor, 507-645-1136
Nick Gerhardt, sports editor, 507-645-1111
, reporter, 507-645-1115
Rich Larson, Editorial Assistant 507-645-1134

Online poll

Pro Picks