Regardless of their analytical approach, the same result rose to top — the new dog park is best suited for the former Lanning Farm on the western city limits of Wapakoneta.
During a brief 15-minute meeting Thursday, Wapakoneta City Council Parks and Recreation Committee members recommended city administrators — Mayor Rodney Metz and Safety-Service Director Bill Rains — work with local Boy Scout Travis Rohrbach and a group of citizens to develop between 1 and 1 1/2 acres of ground for a dog park.
“The reasons for us choosing the Lanning Farm is the land is immediately available, there is a lot of ground available for the park, there is room to create a parking area and there is water at the site,” 1st Ward Councilor and Parks and Recreation Chair Jim Neumeier said, noting the only land off limits at the property is the required area around the water wells. “If we look at it from the other way, there wasn’t land available at Veterans Memorial Park, land at the Centennial property is spoken for except for a small area which I don’t think would have been large enough and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) squashed our plans for Harmon Park ground.”
Neumeier, who wanted to determine an area for the dog park by Aug. 1, said he also favors the Lanning Farm because it gives them the potential for a park on the western edge of the city. He and fellow committee member 4th Ward Councilor Chad Doll discussed placing some stored playground equipment at the Lanning Farm, located on Herbstritt Street, to make it more attractive.
Neumeier also likes the fact an existing fence can be used for the dog park and enough fencing may be available to separate the small and large dog areas. Two gates also exist at the property which could be used as part of the dog park.
Doll remarked a water source already exists at the Lanning Farm for drinking water for the dogs and dog owners and the water could eventually be tapped if restrooms were added at a later date.
Another positive to creating the dog park at the Lanning Farm is many of the supporters voiced displeasure with the ground at Harmon Park possibly being flooded at times when the Auglaize River swelled.
During the meeting, Rains explained ODNR officials would likely not have approved building fences for the dog park at Harmon Park. ODNR rules restrict fences being built perpendicular to a river where it could catch and hold debris.
“The land proposed at Harmon Park is indeed in the flood plain and it would cost a relatively significant amount in engineering fees just to do the hydrology study so it is not really practical to expend those funds when we are told we can’t run a fence that is perpendicular to the river,” Rains said.
Neumeier also liked the savings that could arise from placing the dog park at the Lanning Farm.
“I like the fact that the fundraising efforts by Rohrbach and dog park supporters can be used for something other than fencing if the fencing at the site can be used,” Neumeier said. “They should be able to use the fencing because I think it is still in pretty good shape.”
Metz said the city could use asphalt grindings from a fall street project to develop a parking lot area. He also proposed the idea of possibly moving some trees at the Lanning Farm to provide shade for the park — but only if it was feasible and money was available.
Neumeier said he intended to discuss the next steps with Rohrbach and other dog park supporters.
“I want them to go out and look at the land with city administrators and help us determine what is the best location for the dog park and if it flies with the city’s plans for the land,” Neumeier told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “If we can get plans done, then I want them to be able to get started on it as soon as possible. I am glad the city can help with getting the fence down and reinstalling it and doing the parking lot area.”