CASPER, Wyo. — Casper’s east side could get a new off-leash dog park.
The dog park space would be constructed at city-owned property behind Rocky Mountain Oncology.
Parks and Recreation Director Tim Cortez provided the city council with an update on what is being considered for the proposed park during their Tuesday, Nov. 26 work session.
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The final cost of the project would depend on which amenities the city council would like to include. Cortez said in a memo that costs could exceed $500,000 if large amenities are included.
Council appeared unlikely to support a project with such costs based on their work session conversation. But what exactly will be done with the space remains under dicussion.
The following chart shows costs of amenities which could potentially be a part of the project, with red indicating items Cortez says are more essential and blue indicating more optional items:
“If you really don’t put in one of these features, you really don’t have a park,” Cortez said of the items listed in red.
If council would only like to include such features, Cortez said that would cost around $300,000. The developer has already provided $100,000 to go toward the project, which Cortez said is earmarked to go toward some type of park development.
This map shows how those amenities could potentially be placed in the new dog park:
Regardless of which amenities would be added, dirt work on the space would need to be conducted. The city’s engineering office estimates the cost of such work to begin at $35,000.
The portion on the left side of the above map would be a fenced in area. Fencing that in would cost about $54,000, Cortez said.
Councilman Ken Bates said he’d like the see the fenced-in area connect with the water on the property somehow. He said he was opposed to adding any artificial turf.
“I would like us to do what the dog owners want us to do,” Mayor Charlie Powell said.
Councilman Steve Cathey said he was concerned with dedicating too much money toward such a project with the city still looking to secure money for projects such as coming phases of the Midwest Avenue Reconstruction Project.
Powell said that a lot of the cost for the dog park would come from adding grass and irrigation. Leaving that out would significantly lower the costs.
Bates said the priority for him was to provide a space where people could take their dogs to throw balls or frisbees for fetch.
“It’s a need out there that I don’t think would be that expensive for us to do,” he said.
Councilman Bob Hopkins said that developing the area as a park would limit other potential future uses for the space that the city might eventually want to consider.
Councilman Mike Huber said he’d like to simply fence off the entire area and designate it as a dog park and leave other potential developments for a future discussion.
He also said he’d like to see sections of some existing parks fenced off to allow for off-leash areas.
Huber and Vice Mayor Shawn Johnson said they were also concerned about the price tag. Johnson said using space in existing parks might be more cost effective.
“Can you just designate it as a dog park as it is?” Councilman Steve Freel asked.
City Attorney John Henley said that council could designate it as a dog park but didn’t necessarily need to since it is city property. He said that if the council designates it as a park, it will be very difficult to reverse that decision.
Councilwoman Khrystyn Lutz said that unless there is a fence added, she thinks it would be contradictory to allow the area to be used as an off-leash area since the council passed rules requiring dogs be on leashes any time they are in public.
Huber suggested designating the space as an off-leash area rather than an off-leash dog park. Powell suggested council could fence the whole area and do as Huber suggested as a bare minimum.
“If I remember right, that’s a huge piece of property,” Bates said.
He reiterated his idea to fence off a smaller portion of the property rather than the whole area.
Hopkins says that there are a lot of other areas he knows that people take their dogs to run around and that council didn’t necessarily need to do something with this particular space.
Powell asked Cortez to bring back a cost estimate with a narrower proposal that might include things like a smaller fenced in area and some grading work.
Cortez will also look into dedicating space in existing parks as off-leash areas.
The city received the deed for the property in September. Council had directed city staff to begin preliminary work to allow the project to get underway in April.
Further details are available in the council’s work packet.