By Zane Silk
Dog owners looking for a green space to play with their pets leash-free may soon have a park of their own. The Poweshiek Animal League Shelter (PALS) is planning to build a 2.5 acre private dog park on its property just south of I-80 with construction slated to start this July and conclude by the end of the year if all goes according to plan.
The idea for a fenced dog park initially emerged out of the City of Grinnell’s 2007 Parks Master Plan, though at that time no site was chosen. Over the years many city-owned parks were considered for conversion, but for various reasons none of the sites were selected. It was at this point that PALS stepped in to suggest that they convert part of their property into a dog park.
“On the positive side, there are no neighbors who would have issues with barking or odors, the area available is enormous and the site includes a pond for people who have dogs that enjoy the water,” wrote Professor Liz Queathem, biology, in an email to the S&B. Queathem, who is a member of the Grinnell Parks and Recreation Board, added that, “on the negative side, the park would be outside the city limits, and people would not be able to walk there with their dogs from town … [but] since we have been unable to find a workable site on City property, the Parks and Recreation Board supports these efforts to place a park at the PALS site.”
According to PALS, the estimated construction costs are $40,000, which will be raised from the community and by applying to grants. Annual operational costs will be around $5,000, partly paid for by park memberships and sponsorships from local businesses. In an interview with radio station KGRN, Parks and Recreation Director Kelly Rose said that PALS may seek up to $1,500 annually from the city for ongoing expenses. Though the park does not need the city’s approval, the Parks and Recreation Board passed a resolution on April 24 asking the city council to approve a statement in support for the plan. The hope is that this statement would help PALS gain funding when applying for grants.
“Many dog breeds were originally developed to run, and it can be very difficult to give them enough exercise without risking having them run away. … People who own them really need a place where the dogs can exercise without fearing that they will be hit by a car,” Queathem wrote. “Before moving to Iowa, I used to take my first dog to dog parks quite frequently, and it was such a joy to be able to run with her off leash. I think this park will benefit the whole community and help people keep their dogs happy and healthy, so I am totally behind it!”