The city of Delaware has narrowed down its list of potential dog-park sites to two very different properties.
Lori Midkiff, chairwoman of Delaware's Dog Park Planning Committee, said committee members and city staff visited and researched eight potential sites before settling on two front-runners in mid-February. The finalists are the city's undeveloped Wetlands Park and the site of the former Bark Til Dark Dog Park.
Midkiff said there are advantages and drawbacks to both sites.
The Bark Til Dark site, located just outside city limits at 1277 Hills-Miller Road in Troy Township, previously was operated as a privately owned dog park. Midkiff said the site already has a lot of amenities needed for a dog park because of its prior use.
"The fence is still up (and) the shelter is still there," Midkiff said. "Even though it isn't a city-owned property, we still looked at it."
Bark Til Dark closed in August 2010 after five years of operation. A post on the business' Facebook page cited a weak economy and the increasing prevalence of free dog parks.
The 6.2-acre site is owned by MJP Enterprises, which is based in Lewis Center, according to Delaware County auditor's records. The value of the land and improvements is estimated at $117,700.
Midkiff said city officials have not been in contact with the site's owner and are not sure the owner would be willing to sell. She said the city would need to pay to improve several of the park's features, in addition to land acquisition costs, if it were to develop the dog park there.
"The fencing would still need replaced," she said. "It's in pretty bad shape."
Development costs likely would run higher at Wetlands Park, located south of the Glenwood Commons shopping center off Sunbury Road. The park does not have amenities such as fencing or shelters.
Midkiff said the dog park would take up a small portion of the 45-acre site, created as one of the city's requirements for approval of the Glenwood development. "We wouldn't use all of that for the dog park," she said. "We're wanting to stay at four to five acres for the park."
Midkiff said despite the park's name, there is dry, developable land available for a dog park at the site.
Midkiff said one drawback for both sites is that they are located near the outskirts of the city.
"Both locations would be drive-to-only, basically," she said.
The city's staff is researching the availability of the Hills-Miller Road site and projected costs for fencing at both sites.
"We had a tentative goal of trying to decide on a location by March," Midkiff said. "I don't know if we'll make it, but we'll be pretty close."
Delaware's Dog Park Planning Committee will meet next at 6 p.m. March 20 in Delaware City Council chambers.