Off-leash dog park eyed for Barker's Alps Park

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 18, 2012 - 6:05 PM

If the city of Bayport goes to the dogs, a group from the Stillwater area couldn't be happier.

Allison McGinnis and others who want an off-leash dog park were recently turned down in their bid to create a 1 1/2-acre dog park in the Boutwell Cemetery area, on Stillwater's outskirts.

Now, she said, they're considering Barker's Alps Park in Bayport.

West of downtown, on Fifth Avenue N., the 48-acre park has wooded trails along a bluff, a picnic shelter, grills, restrooms and soccer and ball fields. It's one of four parks in the city, which currently has no off-leash dog park.

The group, Friends of Stillwater Area Dog Park, asked to address the City Council, tentatively in June, said Bayport City Administrator Mitch Berg.

The dog park's supporters approached Stillwater parks officials last November. Their proposal passed the Stillwater Parks Commission, but some members of the joint commission, which includes Stillwater and Stillwater Township officials, said the park would be too small.

"Although we produced valid arguments, testimony and evidence that smaller parks do work, it ended in a tie vote, thus being denied," McGinnis wrote to supporters last week.

She said the joint commissioners voiced overall support for a dog park and suggested that the organizers seek new sites. At the May 2 meeting, they learned that Barker's Alps might be available.

McGinnis said the advocates are working with Bayport officials on a proposal "that looks very promising."

Bayport officials have long considered creating a dog park. In 2007, at a city workshop on the master plan for improvements at Barker's Alps Park, there was a recommendation that the city consider an off-leash dog park, possibly in a leaf-dumping area.

JOY POWELL

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