After months of work by a group of citizens, Powell appears on its way to getting a dog park.
Last week, the Powell City Council gave preliminary approval to a plan that would turn a three-quarter acre portion of Homesteader Park into an off-leash dog park.
The grassy area, which includes trees, is located near Homesteader Park’s Seventh Street entrance, sitting directly south of the water tower.
“I think it’s worth moving forward on,” said Powell City Councilman Jim Hillberry.
Tina Fagan and Judy Londo have been leading the efforts to create a local park.
In April, they asked the council to consider turning Whitlock Park — located on the city’s southeast edge — into a dog park, but that proposal ran into stiff opposition from nearby residents. Neighbors expressed concern that making Whitlock Park into a place for dogs would lower property values and result in excessive noise and odor from dog excrement, among other objections.
In contrast, the proposed dog park location at Homesteader Park does not directly border any residential properties.
To reduce odor concerns, the Homesteader dog park would have four doggie bag stations and two garbage receptacles for pets’ waste — which would need to be emptied into a dumpster once per week for city pickup. Signage at the entrances and in the park would also remind dog owners to clean up after their pets.
“The first step ... has been finding the right land, where it’s not backed up to residential areas and it’s large enough to get everything started,” Fagan explained at the Dec. 3 council meeting. “It wasn’t exactly as large as we’d hoped for — we wanted to start with a full acre and this is three-quarters of an acre.”
Because of the smaller area, the proposed dog park would have one open area for all dogs instead of one for smaller dogs and another for bigger ones.
Several cities and towns in Wyoming already have off-leash dog parks, including Casper, Cheyenne, Cody, Douglas, Gillette, Greybull, Jackson, Lander, Laramie, Rock Springs and Thermopolis. In addition, there is also a dog park in Billings.
“I’ve talked to several smaller dog parks in Wyoming,” Londo said. “There was no concern about any odor. Most of those dog parks are owned and maintained by the city and they haven’t run into any problems.”
After hearing from Fagan and Londo, the council referred it to city staff with the intention of approving the plan at Monday’s city council meeting. Approving it before the end of the month would allow Fagan and Londo to begin applying for grants after the first of the year.
“I think we’re at the point where if you guys like this location, we can kick it over to [city] staff, let staff do a review [and] continue to work on the numbers, so that you can have better material to work towards your grant,” said Mayor John Wetzel. “Then maybe come back with a formal request that this is where you would like to locate the park.”
He added that the arrangement between the city and the dog park group would be more of a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
“I think council’s OK with this location,” Wetzel said.