by Logan Gruber
Dan Streit isn’t too interested in having a dog park in his backyard, and neither are some of his neighbors.
“We’ve lived here for 21 years, and had a gentleman’s agreement with the city that we could use the space,” Streit said.
He and his family have planted trees and flowers and even mow their yard which extends onto city land – city land which is within the boundaries of what may become a dog park.
Streit first realized something might be happening when red stakes appeared on his lawn.
“I came home from work one day, and they had staked out where the edge of the city land was,” Streit said, which is about halfway up the yard space he currently uses.
Streit and others are worried a fence will be put up basically in their backyards, and that dogs will be present in a wooded area where wildlife live and neighbors go for walks or use ATVs and snowmobiles.
“We don’t plan to fence in the whole plot,” said MaryBeth Munden, a main proponent of the dog park.
Munden said it would be prohibitively expensive to fence in the whole area. She also said the dog park likely would not cross any of the drainage ditches and so would be set back from anyone’s backyards, at least for the time being.
Streit said he hadn’t heard the group didn’t plan to fence the entire area. Everything he had heard indicated they wished to fence off the whole area. Streit also says he and others he has talked to aren’t against the idea of a dog park; they just don’t want one in their backyard, especially if it means cutting down trees and scaring away wildlife.
“We’ll need to clear some land for shelter, tables and other reasons, but dogs love variety in landscape. Dogs love trees and hills,” Munden said.
If you’d like to have your voice heard about the dog park or just learn more about it, the St. Joseph Park Board will discuss and hear comments about it at the 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28 meeting at City Hall, 25 College Ave. N.