Aurora is struggling to seek out canine parks

Off-leash dog parks are a great way to get outside with your four-legged family member and meet other dog lovers while your pets socialize.

It’s an ideal for many, but for some homeowners, it should be a target rather than just over the back fence.

For the city of Aurora, this has been a persistent problem in finding suitable locations for off-leash dog parks. However, further efforts will be made at the request of the Council.

Last week the council approved a new non-programmed park for Hartwell Way.

The park is a naturalized area and offers various amenities in the neighborhood, including raised beds in the community garden.

The suggestion for community garden areas was received very positively by the residents. However, a similar proposal to include an off-leash area has been pushed back significantly, which resulted in the Council voting last week to remove it from the final draft.

They also commissioned the staff to prepare a report on possible dog park locations in non-residential areas.

“We haven’t really identified … the best solution for a dog park in Aurora and the report we received stated that we had a deficit and that dog parks were needed,” said Councilor Rachel Gilliland. “It’s no secret that I think there are so many new puppies in the area during the pandemic and the demand will only increase. I… feel like we still want to give the staff some direction to at least find some alternative areas where a dog park can be set up. If it’s not this park it may have to be somewhere else, but I think we’re on this carousel suggesting a few places … so we just put on hold all the hard work we do. “

Councilor Gilliland requested that the report be forwarded to the Council this month. Al Downey, Aurora’s director of operations, said this was not possible due to time constraints. However, he said if the city revisits dog parks, it will be viewed through a lens outside of the living area.

“One of the challenges we had while putting [dog parks] Once we have a public poll, everyone seems to like a dog park [but] They just don’t like dog parks near their home, ”Downey said, noting that staff are still working on a dog waste report. “We’re also working hard on this report, so it would be nice if the two coincided to some extent. I will work as hard as I can, but I will not be able to make the next cycle. “

While Councilor Gilliland welcomed the report, she said she was not against the report on residential areas.

“I think there is a huge benefit to having a dog park in a residential area, like the fact that you can walk down the street or around the corner, meet a neighbor, and encourage active transportation,” she said. “They don’t force anyone to get in a car and go anywhere, but we may not have found the most suitable place.”

Councilor Wendy Gaertner was less enthusiastic, who said residents could not only reject possible smells from a nearby dog ​​park, but also the noise.

“It’s a very noisy endeavor,” she said. “Insertion into an already built shared apartment. If we have a future community to be built, at least one. If you already have a dog park in the subdivision plan, people know it will be there. I think that’s why we have problems with it. This is the second time we’ve had trouble fitting a park into a neighborhood.

“I have the feeling we have to find an industrial park.”

Councilor Sandra Humfryes offered a different perspective.

Rather than just investigating a traditional off-leash dog park, it pays to consider off-leash dog trails whenever possible.

“Maybe residents said they don’t really want to go to a park, but they want to run,” she said. “Instead of finding non-residential areas, we might be able to let stretches of dogs run off leash on our paths. Many residents would love to be able to take their dogs for a walk. “

Brock Weir is a federally funded reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative at The Auroran

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