Two Grandview Heights seventh-grade students are refusing to give up on their goal of making the city a more dog-friendly community.
Greta Tew and Katie Ramsey returned to City Council chambers Jan. 2, about six months after they initially approached city leaders to express their desire for a local dog park.
At that time, city officials said there wasn't enough space available in the city that could support a dog park.
"Their response wasn't too encouraging," Greta said. "We started looking for other ideas besides a dog park."
Grandview is known as a walkable community, and that includes residents taking their dogs for a stroll, said Greta, whose family has a golden retriever/German shepherd mix named Emma.
"Everywhere you go, you'll see people walking with their dogs," said Katie, whose family owns Bailey, an Australian labradoodle.
One of the ideas the Larson Middle School students presented to council was to install dog-waste receptacles around town.
"They're DIY containers, kind of like a PVC pipe," said Greta, whose parents are Melissa and Jonathan Tew. "There are bags that would be available at each container and people would put a bag (filled with their dog's waste) in the top of the pipe and the bags would later be removed for disposal from the bottom of the pipe."
The receptacles could be placed near the major trash containers around town, said Katie, daughter of Kenneth and Lisa Ramsey.
They would be convenient for dog owners who forget to bring a bag with them to pick up their pet's waste, she said.
"I know I was out walking our dog one day with my brother and we had forgotten to bring a bag so he had to run home and get one," Katie said.
Having the receptacles with bags around the city would give dog owners no excuse for not picking up after their pets, Greta said.
In their research, Greta said she and Katie found the cost of 25 pet-waste receptacles would be about $367.
That cost includes the PVC pipes, caps, poles and labels, she said.
The girls also have been considering different ways to approach the dog-park issue.
If a permanent dog park is impossible, the city could look into the feasibility of providing temporary pop-up or off-season parks, Katie said.
The city could announce, for example, that a section of a park will be set aside during certain hours on a certain day for use as a pop-up dog park, she said.
"It could be done on a trial basis to see if it would work," Katie said.
"You could also create an off-season dog park during the wintertime by placing fencing around a section of a place like McKinley Field or Tarpy Woods Park (in Marble Cliff)," Greta said. "People aren't going there much during the winter, anyway."
Some of the ideas were suggested by dog owners the girls interviewed ahead of their visit with council.
"It was really cold that day, so we were only out for a short time and only talked to three or four people," Greta said. "We asked them if they thought Grandview could be more accommodating to dog owners."
Each person said they did believe the city could be more dog-friendly, Katie said.
Council President Greta Kearns said she was impressed with the students' commitment to their cause and their willingness to explore and think about other options.
"Being resourceful, listening to others and being willing to work on finding a compromise -- that's how government works and how you get things done," Kearns said. "I commend them for not giving up after learning their first suggestion wouldn't be feasible."
Some of the ideas the girls presented have been discussed before, but others were new proposals, she said.
"With the strategic-planning process we're getting underway, now is a good time for residents to bring their ideas to us," Kearns said. "These girls have a head start with all of the work and research they've done to think through the ideas they've presented to us."
Greta and Katie's suggestions will be forwarded to council's recreation, services and public facilities committee, Kearns said.
"I'm sure the committee will be discussing this and arranging to have the girls come in for a meeting," she said.
The door is open for some or all of their proposals to be tested at least on an experimental basis, Kearns said.