Andover contemplating dog park in 2013

The city of Andover is contemplating whether to invest in its own dog park or partner with Coon Rapids and Anoka County on a regional facility for dog owners.

Jen and Rob Frisby proposed an Andover dog park two years ago. The Andover Park and Recreation Commission would like the city to budget $10,000 for 2013 to get this project done either by the Andover Station North ball fields or by the compost site at Bunker Hills Regional Park, which would be a joint effort with Coon Rapids and Anoka County. File photo by Eric Hagen

Jen and Rob Frisby proposed an Andover dog park two years ago. The Andover Park and Recreation Commission would like the city to budget $10,000 for 2013 to get this project done either by the Andover Station North ball fields or by the compost site at Bunker Hills Regional Park, which would be a joint effort with Coon Rapids and Anoka County. File photo by Eric Hagen

The Andover Park and Recreation Commission at its July 19 meeting voted to include $10,000 in the 2013 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for a dog park at a yet to be determined location.

The Andover City Council in September 2010 approved a dog park between the Andover Station North ball fields and the closed landfill site. Residents sought donations, but not enough has been collected to make this dog park a reality.

The city of Coon Rapids recently asked Andover if the two cities could work with Anoka County to build a regional dog park near the compost site at Bunker Hills Regional Park.

Andover Park and Recreation Commission chairperson Ted Butler at the July 19 meeting expressed interest in working with another community because he is worried that Andover would spend money on a dog park at Andover Station North and a new facility at Bunker Hills Regional Park that may be better would cause residents to go to that other park.

Andi Sirek, one of the residents who was trying to raise money for a dog park at Andover Station North, prefers an Andover-only dog park rather than a regional effort in order to create a stronger sense of community.

“I can appreciate the thought about wanting to do a combined park with multiple cities involved,” Sirek said. “However, I personally believe it’s a community dog park and when you get your residents together at these kind of parks, it’s not just dogs running around playing. It’s your residents talking about your community.”

The dog park was on the city’s radar because Jen and Rob Frisby of Andover said they would love to have a dog park in their own community. The closest location is Trackside Park, which the city of Coon Rapids plans shut down because of neighborhood complaints.

Rob Frisby said he and his wife Jen did talk with Anoka County a couple of years ago about a regional dog park, but the Frisbys thought the estimated costs were too high so they focused on a smaller Andover dog park that people from surrounding communities could still come to.

The potential challenge of the county park site is paving the parking lot and an access road and having curb and gutter along this road, according to Todd Haas, assistant director of public works for the city of Andover.

Haas guessed that paving a parking lot could cost between $80,000 and $100,000 by itself. Paving the lot may not be necessary though. According to Coon Rapids Public Services Director Steve Gatlin, a recent code change enacted by the Coon Rapids City Council would not require a concrete surface for the parking lot, but rather a much less expensive milled bituminous material. If recycled material like a fence could be found, perhaps the total cost could be in the $40,000 to $50,000 range.

According to Haas, the Andover City Council could also waive its requirement that the parking lot be paved.

On the other hand, a paved lot already exists at the Andover Station North ball field complex. The outfield ball field fences could be utilized to cut down on new fencing costs, Haas said.

Commission member Shaun Van Vark asked city staff to see if there is any fencing material that could be used to complete the fence.

For now, Andover does not need to make a decision because the earliest anything could happen is 2013.

ABC Newspapers Managing Editor Peter Bodley contributed to this story

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

  • m

    While this sounds great on paper, the area being proposed is a high quality natural area as indicated in the states county biological survey. Is there really a need for a dog park in this area? We already have miles of trails to walk our dogs and can let them run loose in our yards. The whole concept of dog parks was for downtown areas in which people did not have yards could take their dogs out and allow them off leash. This works in MPLS and St. Paul but is not necessary in Anoka County, specifically Coon Rapids and Andover. At some point I hope someone looks at this and asks the question, is this really a good use of our tax payer dollars? We are talking about $40-50K in fence, another $80K for parking, maintenance to control poison ivy, establish vegetation (likely need irregation and a well if they want any vegetation there as the dogs will wear it down in a couple of weeks if there is as much of a demand as some think). On top of that, when will we stop developing Bunker Hills Park. There is hardly a speck of the park left in which we don’t already have something un-natural. I just hope someone wises up and shoots this down.

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