Where should the dog park go in Albert Lea?

Published 10:03 am Thursday, December 31, 2015

Officials looking at Frank hall park as top site

Frank Hall Park has been identified as the city’s top site for a potential dog park.

The preferred site is where the Albert Lea Grizzlies play.

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Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. said Monday the city plans on keeping the Grizzlies in Albert Lea, and officials are looking at other possible sites for the team, including near Albert Lea High School and Riverland Community College.

Officials discussed having the dog park built after the Grizzlies’ 2016 season is complete.

Space near Brookside Education Center is a second possible location.

The city doesn’t plan on building the dog park until funds for the proposed project are raised by the Rotary Club. The club has committed to paying one-third of the cost of an acre for the park.

Rotary Club President Sheila Schulz said she hopes fundraising is completed by the end of the winter.

The club wants to establish a fenced-in, off-leash park where well-behaved dogs can exercise, socialize and have fun in a clean, safe environment without endangering or annoying people or property.

City staff have told the Rotary Club the city would provide signage, maintenance and the land for the project.

Schulz said the Rotary Club received a grant from Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea for the project and an anonymous donation. Anybody interested in donating can do so by sending a tax-deductible donation made out to the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber Foundation.

The Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will hold a public commenting forum at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at City Hall to hear comments from the public on both sites.

City Manager Chad Adams said final approval for a dog park site could be made by the City Council in late January or early February.

Adams said a dog park would be a community asset and would provide dogs and their owners the opportunities to exercise in connection with the city’s Blue Zones philosophy.

Schulz said in October there are several reasons why a dog park in Albert Lea is a good idea:

Dogs are allowed to exercise and socialize safely.

Promotes responsible dog ownership as it stops people from letting dogs off leash where they shouldn’t be.

Provides socialization for community members.

Makes for a better community by promoting public health and safety.

Schulz said the ideal dog park would include an acre or more of land surrounded by a 4-to 6-foot chain-link fence. She said the fence would preferably be equipped with a double-gated entry to keep dogs from escaping and to allow wheelchair access.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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