Dog park work will start this summer
by Rick DeClue · News · March 29, 2013

Work on the proposed West Branch dog park is expected to start this summer, with completion by September.

The park will be located on the site of the old hog-buying station at the intersection of 280th Street and Baker Avenue, north of the city.

Spearheaded by members of the city’s Animal Control Commission, volunteers began their formal efforts at an organizing meeting on March 11. A non-profit group to be called Friends of the West Branch Dog Park is being formed.

The Girl Scouts of America Troop 2080 is helping with development of the park as part of a Silver Award Project. The troop is already raising funds and construction materials It will also monitor the park initially as part of its project — including collecting user fees and issuing tags. The fee structure has not yet been set.

According to Animal Control Commission Member Amy Lynch, the fundraising goal is approximately $10,000 in cash and materials for construction of fencing, a small shelter, benches and signage. The fencing is expected to cost $6,000 to $8,000. The park will have water available for dogs and a restroom available for owners. Dog owners will be expected to clean up after their animals.

The city of West Branch and the Cedar County Conservation will split the estimated $7,000 cost of a restroom plus gravel to provide parking for eight to 10 vehicles.

The county owns an adjacent 0.78 acres that is part of the proposed development. The shelter and restroom will be located on the county parcel. The city will mow and maintain the dog run, and is working on an agreement with the county for the overall site, according to a city council discussion.

The West Branch Fire Department wants to burn down the hog-buying structure as a training exercise. City Administrator Matt Muckler said Fire Administrator Dick Stoolman contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to make them aware of the planned burn, originally scheduled for March 13.

The DNR requested that the city make sure there are no asbestos issues with the structure. Once the DNR is satisfied, the training exercise will be rescheduled.

West Branch’s Animal Control Commission has been working on developing a dog park for several years. They visited parks in surrounding communities for ideas and looked at several potential sites in West Branch before the Baker Avenue land became available.

At its March 4 meeting, the West Branch City Council saw a small model of the proposed park. Council Members Dan O’Neil and Mark Worrell (now mayor) said the dog park looks like it will be a nice addition to town.

On Dec. 17, Hillshire Brands donated more than an acre of land to the city of West Branch for use as a dog park. The park area will total more than two acres containing an additional 50-foot wide strip that was part of the abandoned railroad right-of-way also donated to the city, plus the parcel owned by Cedar County.

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