A proposal to locate a new dog park within Blue Limestone Park may lead to friction between Delaware City Council and the city's Dog Park Planning Committee.
The committee approved a motion naming the site as the "best possible choice" for a dog park at its meeting Thursday, June 19. No member spoke in favor of another site.
Don Shannon, vice chairman of the committee, said adding a dog park to Blue Limestone Park could bring new life to the site.
"Since we removed youth baseball and adult softball out of that park, it seems to me to be way underutilized," he said.
Committee member Ken Guenther agreed. He said he'd visited the park almost daily since June 1 and rarely saw more than three people using it.
"It's got to be one of the most underused parks in the city," he said.
Councilman Joe DiGenova, who sits on the dog park committee, said he did not disagree that the park is underused. However, he warned the committee that it could be tough to convince City Council to approve the site.
DiGenova said he thinks a majority of council members would vote against adding a dog park to Blue Limestone Park, noting five council members had voiced concerns to him about the possibility.
"They just like the area the way it is," DiGenova said.
Committee members said Blue Limestone Park was the most cost-effective site for a dog park because it has already been developed and features recently upgraded bathrooms and other amenities. They also cited the park's central location, off of King Avenue between West Central Avenue and West William Street.
After creating the committee last year, council allocated $75,000 toward the development of a dog park and tasked committee members with selecting three potential city-owned sites.
Committee Chairwoman Lori Midkiff said naming three sites was difficult because committee members thought Blue Limestone Park was by far the most-appropriate property.
"It's hard when all of us ... want Blue Limestone and we're hearing that council does not," she said.
The committee eventually named the city's Wetlands Park and city-owned property off Curve Road as its next two choices -- noting that the development of the properties may be cost-prohibitive.
The Wetlands Park site, previously selected as one of two possible sites by the committee, is located on the city's east side, southwest of the Glenwood Commons shopping center off Sunbury Road. The site fell out of favor with the committee due to its location near city limits and the likely cost of developing the necessary amenities.
Committee members raised concerns about the Curve Road property, located just southwest of the Wetlands Park site, because a landfill is on the 36-acre property.
Still, the committee reluctantly named the site as its third choice after failing to find another site that could take its place.
The former Bark Til Dark Dog Park on Hills-Miller Road in Troy Township was another previous frontrunner. That site dropped out of serious consideration after the owner of the property put a $140,000 price tag on the land.
DiGenova said he understood the committee felt strongly about Blue Limestone Park being the best site, but he warned them it might be an uphill battle.
"I would just suggest that if the committee wants to go forward with Blue Limestone, you start lobbying your councilmen," he said.