Delaware News

Blue Limestone dog park nixed

Council votes against option, will turn focus to two other potential spots

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKNEWS
Reagan Smart, 3, examines a bluegill, her first caught fish, with the help of her grandfather, Loren McCumber, as her grandmother, Mary McCumber, takes a picture Friday, Aug. 15, at Blue Limestone Park in Delaware. The park was rejected as a potential site for the city's dog park over residents' concerns.
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Delaware City Council dropped Blue Limestone Park last week from the list of sites being considered for the city's dog park.

The city's Dog Park Planning Committee recommended in June the city build the new park at that location because the site already has the needed amenities and space. Although the board submitted two runner-up locations -- Wetlands Park and city-owned property off Curve Road -- its members were unanimously in favor of Blue Limestone Park and unimpressed by the other two sites.

Council voted 5-2 at its meeting Monday, Aug. 11, to remove Blue Limestone Park from the list of potential dog-park sites.

Mayor Carolyn Riggle said she she's received multiple calls from residents who like Blue Limestone Park the way it is, and she's inclined to agree.

"I don't support Blue Limestone just because of all the phone calls I've had," she said. "I think that park is beautiful."

Council unanimously voted to have the city's administration study the feasibility of adding a dog park at one of the two other sites suggested by the committee.

Council members Lisa Keller and Joe DiGenova voted against dropping Blue Limestone Park from consideration.

Keller said whatever decision the council made, it could not please everyone. She said she also was not convinced public opinion firmly was against building a dog park at Blue Limestone Park.

"Most of the feedback I've received is in favor of Blue Limestone," she said.

Vice Mayor George Hellinger said he did not support adding a dog park at Blue Limestone Park and questioned whether the city needed a dog park at all. He said Delaware residents could take their dogs to Alum Creek State Park's dog park if they wanted to.

"I just don't think this is a good use of taxpayer money," he said.

Councilman Andrew Brush said while he does not support putting the dog park at Blue Limestone Park, he realized it might be the most cost-effective site. Therefore, he said he would be open to the city spending more than the currently allocated $75,000 on a dog park at a site other than Blue Limestone Park.

"If we need to appropriate additional money out of the levy funds ... that's something I'm certainly amenable to," Brush said.

Peggy Guenther, a former member of the Dog Park Planning Committee, said she was disappointed with council's decision. She said adding the dog park to Blue Limestone Park would have been the least-expensive and time-consuming option

"If you go to an area like the Wetlands (Park), it will probably be at least five years before we have a dog park," she said. "You're going to have to grade it, you're going to have to seed it (and) it's going to have to take hold."

Committee members also pointed to the lack of mature shade trees at Wetlands Park -- located southwest of the Glenwood Commons shopping center off Sunbury Road -- as a potential hurdle.

The committee had advised against the Curve Road property because a landfill is located on the 36-acre site, among other reasons.

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