After opposition erupted last year over a proposal to build an off-leash dog park in Martin Luther King Park, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board went back to the drawing board, and on Tuesday, the board's planning committee will vote on a resolution to approve the location and design of a dog park in the west corner of Lyndale Farmstead Park, converting a portion of the parking lot of the board's South Side operations center.
Approval of the resolution would also direct staff to start the community process for the development of a system-wide off-leash recreation area master plan in 2012 or 2013. If the resolution passes, it will move forward to be voted on by the full board in December.
Residents will be able to voice their opinions at a public hearing before the vote.
In February, the park board voted unanimously to remove Martin Luther King Park from consideration as a site for the dog park because of opposition from a large number of black residents who said the park would be disrespectful to King's memory.
The board authorized the creation of a citizens advisory committee to examine three alternative sites in the city's sixth park district in south Minneapolis. The potential sites were a piece of land south of Minnehaha Creek at Pleasant Avenue and Minnehaha Parkway West, a spot behind the Theodore Wirth house, at the bottom of a winter sledding hill, and the parking lot. Each plan had its critics.
Reporter Randy Furst wrote in August that even the more favored parking lot site had some criticisms by park workers who feared that it would "reduce parking for employees, make space more cramped for park machinery, and endanger dogs and their owners who navigate past heavy park trucks."
The staff report, which is attached below, said that the development of the dog park in this area would require the relocation of some equipment currently stored there. Staff would start development of a relocation plan after board approval. Additionally, more funding would be needed to be allocated to the project, which is estimated to cost $96,210. The park board currently has $32,500 allocated to the project.
If the park board doesn't approve the parking lot location, the committee said its secondary recommendation would be for the site south of the operations center wall within the turf and tree area along Kings Highway. This site would be west of the path that runs diagonally from the athletic fields to the southwest corner of the park behind the Theodore Wirth house.
The public hearing starts at 6:30 p.m. at park board headquarters.