ROCHESTER, Minn. – Two years ago, the Stewartville City Council assigned a Task Force to plan, develop, and fund a dog park. We last met with members of the five person Task Force in September of 2015 and they were showing us a section of Meadow Park they had in mind for a location. However, Julie Ristau with the Dog Park Task Force tells us they have tried to work with the park board on a location to put the dog park, to no avail.
“All of our communications with the park board just kind of always came to a halt because we could never find a location with the park board, and so we actually were kind of in limbo for several months,” Ristau explains.
She says one of the Task Force members talked to the head of public works about a piece of land just west of the wastewater treatment plant. While the new location is significantly smaller than the area in Meadow Park, Ristau says there is not too much that would need to be done seeing as the area already has grass.
Last month, the city council gave the Task Force the OK to move forward in developing the park in the space next to the treatment plant.
Raising money has been another hurdle the task force has faced. Not only were some donations jars stolen out of local businesses, but the group found it difficult to find donors to give to a project that until now, had no real plan or location.
“In a sense, it was almost setting us up for failure because they would kind of know that people don’t want to donate if there’s actually not a set project in place, so we’re kind of hoping that now that we have a location, we’ll be able to successfully fundraise everything that we need to get it going,” adds Ristau.
They estimate they will need about $5,000 and/or donations in the form of fencing, cement and other materials. Beyond just getting it up and running, it will be up to the Task Force to provide funds to keep the park maintained.
The park will open on a trial basis that the city will review after a year of use. The hope is to have the funds and materials so it is ready to open this spring.
If you’d like to support the Stewartville dog park, check out the Task Force Facebook page, as well as a GoFundMe account that’s been set up.