Oregon City Council approves zoning for a dog park

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Oregon City Council on Monday approved a Special Use Permit for property located at 2960 Pickle Road for the purpose of having a community dog park with a shelter at the site.
        A public hearing was held before council approved the matter. Council then voted unanimously in favor of the Special Use Permit.
        The Oregon Planning Commission on June 21 recommended that council approve the Special Use Permit.
        The three-acre site is on the north side of the YMCA on Pickle Road.
        Council also approved a lease agreement with the YMCA for $1 for the property. Originally, the Oregon Economic Development Foundation was going to be the owner, but it changed to the city so that the road and parking lot can be properly maintained.
        City officials have stated that dog park would be beneficial to the community. It helps the city be more connected with the public. City Administrator Mike Beazley visited other dog parks in the country and saw that they are a growing trend within other communities.
        The layout of the dog park will be broken down into two sections: One for small dogs and one for big dogs. Plans also call for a gazebo type structure with water fountains for both dogs and humans.
        Larry Schaffer has led the effort to get a dog park in Oregon.
        He explained he wanted to donate about $10,000 from a memorial fund for his son, who had passed away last year, towards a good cause. One day, he was walking Cooper, his son’s dog, “and it hit me that we don’t have a dog park.” He contacted Council President Tim Zale and Dogs Unleashed with the idea of creating a dog park at the site, and using the money from his son’s memorial towards that effort.
        “Mr. Schaffer - as well as a few other people involved in this - has worked tirelessly in the planning of this. Right now, we have estimates of materials – fencing, a water line for water for the dogs. There’s a lot of things that go into this. It’s going very well. I think this will be at very minimal cost to the city because of how many people from the private sector will be contributing to this.”
        Schaffer said membership fees will likely be $45 per year for two dogs. “If someone can’t afford the $45, we’ll fund it for them.”
        Dogs must be licensed through Lucas County, must spayed or neutered, and vaccinated
        Dogs Unleashed will police the renewals and verification of memberships, according to Zale. The city and Dogs Unleashed will maintain the grass and feces pickup. Membership will be a key fob or card to access the gates to the dog park.
        If a dog or owner is injured by another dog in the park, the city will not be liable.
        “Generally, there is a release they will have to sign that is customary if we enter into an agreement with Dogs Unleashed, or with the foundation,” said City Law Director Melissa Purpura. “There is a release from liability.”
        Beazley said at the planning commission in June that there will be some concrete and path gravel to help get the area dry, but he acknowledged it is a low area and it may be muddy from time to time. The city will work through it and learn as they go.
        Future plans call for a bike trail and road expansion near the site, which are all included in the Master Plan and are ready to move forward.               


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