Olentangy Valley News

Dog-park advocates work to convince Powell leaders

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A new park planned for Powell could include the city's first dog park.

After meeting with interested residents and local dog-park experts April 16, Powell officials said Seldom Seen Park, a new park planned for the space just north of Seldom Seen Road and west of the railroad tracks, might be a suitable site for a dog park.

"We're beginning the master plan for (Seldom Seen Park) now," said City Manager Steve Lutz, "so nothing is going to happen immediately or in the next few months -- but a dog park is something we can consider."

A local effort to bring a fenced-in dog park to Powell was launched in March by Liberty High School sophomore Shreya Sirivolu, who said the nearest park, Alum Creek Dog Park, is about 20 minutes away -- not quite close enough for frequent trips with her Labrador retriever.

The issue is far from settled; council members voiced concerns last week about funding, maintenance and whether a dog park would fit into a space that will be used primarily for youth athletics.

Ann Wenberg, a Powell resident and founder of the Friends of Alum Creek Dog Park, attended the April 16 meeting to support the cause.

She said her park was created because dog owners frequently let their pets off their leashes along Alum Creek.

"There were always people getting tickets because their dogs were off the leash. The dog park provides a place for dogs to be off leash and still not get in trouble," Wenberg said.

The ideal park would be about five acres total, with separate fenced-in spaces for large and small dogs, she said.

She added a smaller space could work -- but not too small.

"It's going to be very popular no matter how big or small you make it," Wenberg said.

A good dog park also has benches, shade and a water source to keep dogs hydrated, she said.

Also in attendance was Adam Orebaugh, a member of Worthington Organized Off-leash Friends, a volunteer group that works to raise money to support Worthington's dog park.

Since it was founded in 2009, the group has garnered 450 members -- and the park, which is approaching its first anniversary, has become hugely popular.

"It's always packed over there," Orebaugh said. "It's one of the most-used parks in Worthington per capita, and we've had a lot of really positive feedback from the community."

Powell has no shortage of pets. In the 43065 ZIP code, there are 2,025 registered dog owners and 2,725 licensed dogs, according to the Delaware County Auditor's Office.

Wenberg said the city could maintain the grass by closing down half of the dog park in the spring to plant new grass seed.

"But there are going to be times of the year where it won't be beautiful, just like other parks in Powell, because it's mud season," she said.

The city is about to begin the master-planning process for Seldom Seen Park and will hold meetings to give the public a chance to weigh in -- though no planning dates have been set.

The 23-acre park likely will cater to youth athletics with soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and likely a playground and picnic space.

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