Thursday, June 01, 2006

New poll: dog park

Time to change the Grand Forks Life poll again. First, let's take a look at the results of the old poll question. The question was "What would you like to see more of in downtown Grand Forks?" and there were a total of 64 votes. The most wanted addition to downtown appears to be "Stores" which received 31% of the vote. "Restaurants/bars" was another popular answer with 25% of the vote. "Housing" and "Offices" tied with each other by both getting 19% of the vote. Lastly, "Other" got 5% and "Galleries" got just 2% of the vote.

It's interesting to see that people seem to want stores more than anything else downtown (that was my vote, too). I might observe that several stores have opened up downtown in the last few years only to later close likely because of a lack of customers. My feeling is that these stores weren't exactly what people were looking for when the were talking about retail establishments in the downtown area. In my opinion, interested parties should take a look at what kinds of stores seem to go over well in other regional downtown areas and try to repeat the same formula in downtown Grand Forks. With the recent influx of restaurants and - especially - housing, it will be interesting to see if stores will follow suit by locating downtown. It seems like there will be more and more people living downtown in the near future and all of those people are going to need places to eat and places to shop...right? Guess we'll find out soon enough.

Time for the next poll. The new question is "Which GF dog park proposal do you support?". Make your voice heard on this important issue. Don't think that city leaders don't "lurk" on local blogs to try to gauge feelings on local issues. Cast you vote right now!


Still Anonymous said...

Do people think they can take their dogs to an area and let them loose to play with other dogs all at the same time and not have problems like dog fights?

Who is accepting liability here?

I can just see the dog that is a friendly pet at home, but never been around other dogs get turned loose and the fight is on.

Too many people think "Bambi" is a true story.

Convince me I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether you're right or wrong, dog parks are a reality.

I think you need to get out more.

Dave Miller said...

This is an item the city of Grand Forks certainly doesn't need to be spending taxpayer dollars on. There has got to be some roads to fix, lines to repaint, sidewalks to repair, street signs to replace, increase in Pete Haga's salary, an Alerus deficit to offset... I could go on.

Still Anonymous said...

I guess one person's "pet project" (pun intended) is another's "pork project."

In response to: "I think you need to get out more."

I have a bunch of animals (five dogs, two cats, one frog, one wife, numerous grandkids) and
"get out plenty"

Next question, if you have animals that need to run around in a dog park, why do you have
the animal without providing your own room for them to run? Just curious. . . . .

wendian said...

Dave, I respectfully disagree. With pets in over 60% of households in the US, they are here to stay and people are placing increasing value on them. Being a pet-friendly city will show that GF is modern and progressive, as well as welcoming to visitors, since so many people nowadays travel with pets. AND...we'll be providing a service that residents have been wanting/needing for some time now.

Yes, we need to fix potholes and replace signs, but we need to encompass other needs as well, of which recreation and leisure is one. Dog parks encourage outdoor activities and exercise for both pets and humans, provide networking opportunities, promote a sense of community and offer other healthy benefits.

I lived on the east coast in a state that was very pet friendly. My metro had over a dozen "bark parks". For about $10, we bought a "bark pass," i.e. collar tag, (through the park district) so our dog could attend. The parks are fenced, have water fountains, trash cans, agility equipment and are self-policed. There are even a few shopping malls in the state that are pet-friendly (Walking your pug through Nordstrom is totally acceptable).

Bark parks are a great way to let dogs socialize with dogs, as well as letting them race around to get exercise in a safe environment. Not everyone in GF can afford a big yard, or a fence of their own, or has a way to meet other pet owners. This is a wonderful opportunity to provide a valuable service to our community as well as our visitors and guests.

I support bark parks and prefer a fenced version for safety. For once, I'd like to see GF step up to the plate and be a leader by installing a few bark parks very soon.

New in GF said...

My freshman dorm was a couple of blocks away from the "Wiggly Field" dog park in Chicago. It was great! The park was always full of dogs and their owners--it was a major boon to the neighborhood and area businesses. The best part about it, though, was the opportunity it provided for people to get out an socialize with one another. Simply put, it was a major community builder. What town couldn't use a little more of that?

JGS said...

Let's get this thing put where everyone are walking distances away. I know it's been such a long damn time for this thing to get underway, but I support any location really. I would rather see people walking their pets to the park instead of driving.

drunk said...

We have dog parks here in the Silicon Valley. No problems with dog fights or any other problems. It's just something for people to get out of their houses. Encourage a little bit of exercise. And the pets enjoy 'em as well!

Dave Miller said...

wendian... modern and progressive? Okay.

Look, all of those things are great and the park names are catchy and lovely. I'm a dog guy. I love the little creatures. I just don't think the city needs to be in the business of 'bark parks', 'kitty cities', 'rover ranges' or 'fido fields'.

If the people want something like this why hasn't a dog friendly organization formed and a fund raising drive take place? There is the obvious item of land and I could see the city making that available, but the rest of the expenses and continued maintenance should be run by a private entity. That's all I'm saying. I know I'm talking to a brick wall but I will continue to speak the good word and fight to the good fight against wasteful government.

GrandForksGuy said...

I'm not against having a dog park in Grand Forks, but I am against both of the proposed locations (downtown and Lions Park). Downtown would supposedly be to costly (flood cleanup) if it was fenced and far too disruptive to the neighborhood and the Greenway itself if it was unfenced as has been proposed. A Lions Park location would obviously have to be fenced as there are streets, houses, apartment buildings, bike paths, and a large shopping center within feet of the park.

However, even with this necessary fencing, I can't support a Lions Park location. I don't see taking a park that the entire population of Grand Forks can enjoy/use away from the greater community and turning it into another type of park that only a small percentage of the community will get use out of.

Here's one way to look at why I am agaisnt the Lions Park location. If you lived in one of the apartments or houses that surround Lions Park (many even touch the park), how would you feel about a proposal to turn your quiet neighborhood park into a place where dogs can come to poop, run around like mad, and bark? Don't you think that this could potentially make you upset (even if you were also a pet owner)? Would you be happy to see the place where your children play or where you take walks in the evening become a fenced-in pen for dogs to relieve themselves? I know I wouldn't be happy. If you lived next to University Park, would you be upset if the city wanted to turn that park into a dog park? If you lived next to Bringewatt Park, would you be upset if the city wanted to turn that park into a dog park? If you lived next to Sertoma Park, would you be upset if the city wanted to turn that park into a dog park? In other words, think of the park that's closest to your residence, would you like to see that park changed from a neighborhood park that everyone can enjoy into a park that dog owners from all over the city and region will come to to let their dogs run and poop? I don't think any of use would honestly like to see this scenario happen to our neighborhood park. This is why I do not understand how the city can justify turning an already exisiting neighborhood park into a dog park.

The city needs to find a new location that hasn't already been a park for years and turn that location into a new, fenced-in dog park. If it really costs so much to buy a small plot of land and put up a fence around it, why not come up with ways for the dog owners who use the park to pay for the startup costs? I'm aware that a ridiculously small percentage of dogs in the city are actually licensed by the city. Why not get tougher with enforcement of licensing and use that money to fund a dog park in a new location on the outskirts of town?

Regarding pet licensing in Grand Forks, take a look at this information from the GFPD. If every dog in GF was properly licensed, we would be well on our way to having enough money for a dog park.

Dave Miller said...

How about Manvel? There's some room out there.

Anonymous said...

why is a dog park the City's responsibilty?

Tu-Uyen said...

By the way, y'all, the Humane Society is building a dog park just north of the city on US 81. It's supposed to open next year.