Bark park sought: City officials encourage dog owners to attend meeting

If area residents are interested in a dog park in a section of a planned park where Centennial Elementary School used to be located, two city officials encourage them to come forward.

Mayor Rodney Metz and 1st Ward Councilor Jim Neumeier, who chairs the Parks and Recreation Committee, advised residents seeking an area to exercise their dogs to come forward soon before plans for the park are finalized.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to a dog park as part of the plans,” Neumeier told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “Now would be the time if they would like land devoted for a dog park to speak for it.”

The 1st Ward councilor said he would have no problem with setting aside an area on the approximately 10 acres of land being developed at the former Centennial Elementary School if it did not interfere with plans formulated by the Wapakoneta Breakfast Optimists club and the Wapak Soccer Club.

The city paid $90,000 for the land, with the Wapak Soccer Club pledging $40,000 and the Breakfast Optimists pledging $20,000 toward that total amount.

“Now would be the time to bring it up because we are starting to determine what space is needed for the playground equipment and they would like to get a piece or two in yet this year,” Neumeier said. “If there is an interest in a dog park, now would be the time to discuss it.”

An acre is being devoted for a playground and for future development plans by the Breakfast Optimists, and another acre is being set aside for a parking lot. The playground would be near the Water Street entrance in an area with large trees, and the parking lot would be located on the west side of Water Street where a parking lot existed for the school.

The remainder of the land would be devoted to soccer fields.

Metz advised anyone interested in a dog park to attend a future Parks and Recreation Committee meeting or Neumeier.

“They need to come to a meeting and tell us what they want or what is needed — do they need something long and narrow or something square — and what do they want to do with the dogs,” Metz said. “We need to know if they want an area for them to run or do they want something specific out there for them.”

The mayor also favored the idea being developed further.

“I would like to see that done,” Metz said. “We are always looking for some new service to offer our residents and we obviously have a lot of pets in the city, so most certainly I would like to see the idea worked on.”