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Concern with Dog Park Plans

At Thursday night’s City Commission Work session, commissioners heard from Kim Perez with Friends of the Hays Dog Park. The group is asking the Commission’sFriends of Hays Dog Park permission to begin work on the dog park in an incremental manner and would like to complete what they are calling Phase I of the dog Park in hopes that the completion of this portion of the larger project will assist in their fundraising efforts.

“It’s Great when citizens care enough to take initiative to change the community positively,” Mayor Kent Steward told Eagle News.

“The group had said that they would  pay for everything if the city would set aside land but the task was more than they expected and fundraising is uncertain”. Perez agreed two years is enough time to raise money but the fundraising is slow so now they want to build in phases.

Commissioner Ron Mellick expressed concern that construction could start and not be completed. Perez wrote on the Friends of the Dog Park Face Book Page, “ Couple of the commissioners had some concerns about a phased approach for the Hays dog park. PLEASE contact them in the next week and let them know that you think it is a good idea! Please! If they allow us to do a phased approach, I really think we could be playing in a dog park within the year!!!”

“When they started the dog park people said small dogs and big dogs shouldn’t be put together, said Steward. “Now they want to start building and they say they will combine both small and big dogs. It seems like they have contradicted themselves.”

In other work on Thursday evening, Commissioners asked to have the newly seeded lawn permits on the agenda for next week where they will vote on it. The discussion was positive and they were supportive of the proposed changes.

KSKOLLECTIONJULYAUG

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  • Kim Perez

    To address Mr. Stewart’s concern about a contradiction–it really isn’t. The IDEAL for a dog park is to have a separate area for smaller, timid dogs….but not all dog parks do this. It is a best practice, but not a mandate. Some small dogs are fine with large dogs…but some small dogs are not…so as a courtesy to that audience, we want separate areas eventually. If we have a phase 1 all dog park, owners would know whether their dog would be comfortable with big dogs…and if they are not, they would not bring them to the park

    • http://hayspost.com AMERICAN

      With the name Beach -Schmidt on the sports complex, maybe you should ask them if they would like to help out to get this done. I know Bob for sure would love to help out, if asked

      • Kim Perez

        Yes, we do think that is a good idea. We have approached the Schmidts and they indicated that they would like to help and we need to send a packet to their foundation. We will do that this week. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • James

      Why would construction bring in more donors? If you’re already having problems getting money, as time goes on and more and more donors are tapped out, it will only get harder and harder for you to get money. It makes no sense to say construction will somehow bring in more donations, especially in light of the huge price tag Phase II carries in comparison to Phase I.

      If you want to build in phases then wait until you actually have the $38K for the first phase before you go to the commission. It’s very premature to ask to start construction when you haven’t even raised half of what is needed for phase I.

      Further, if you really are willing to accept Phase I as a completed project if you can’t raise enough funds for Phases II and III, then put it in writing in an agreement with the city that you won’t ask for additional taxpayer funding. Also be willing to give the excess donations to the city for maintenance. If you’re unwilling to do this then I can only conclude this to be nothing more than a long term plan to grab taxpayer funding for a project only a few want but are unwilling to fund themselves.

      I hope the commissioners have learned from the USD’s FAST project and reject this proposal.

      And I’m sorry, but the big dog/little dog statements that have been made are a contradiction…

      • Kim Perez

        We are not asking to start building until we raise the money for each phase. We would NOT go to te commission to ask to begin phase I until we have $32,800 in the bank. We are simply asking them to allow us to build as we get the money. And, I don’t have a problem agreeing that we will not ask for extra funding from the city for the other phases. We have been told to raise the money….and we fully intend to raise the money.

      • Sharla

        I’m sorry, I must be missing something. How is allowing large and small dogs to play a contradiction?

      • Cheryl Duffy

        I’d like to address the question, “Why would construction bring more donors?” First, I know of one funding source that has already stated a preference for waiting until the dog park is a reality before donating for amenities/improvements such as landscaping, benches, etc. Second, once the basic dog park is in place, and once people start using it and and spreading the word, inviting their friends and their dogs–awareness and interest will grow. We can even hold fundraisers AT the park itself!

    • Cheryl Duffy

      I’d also like to address the “contradiction” argument. I think we should be pleased that the Friends of the Hays Dog Park have the foresight to envision such an ideally functional park. But let’s not fault them for seeking the perfectly reasonable approach of moving toward that “perfect” park in stages. Surely many of us have approached our own home projects in stages, completing what we can afford when we can afford it–and then adding on later.

  • Brea Wadel

    Well said, Kim Perez. Well said.

    • Kim Perez

      Gracias!

  • Uncle Thomas

    Why does Hays need a dog park? I see these in cities for folks living in apt, condos, where yards are not present, but why Hays?

    • http://hayspost.com AMERICAN

      Because dogs like to socialize with other dogs. If you would let your dog out of his 4×6 cage more then once a year for pheasant season you would know better.

      • passin_threw

        So who will be liable when my dog Mitt kicks ur lil poodle lefties tail?

        • Bob

          I thought you dog ran away with its tail between it legs and was last seen running towards Utah.

      • Uncle Thomas

        My dog socializes with pets of friends and family on a daily basis. In our neighborhood and across town. My dog has not needed therapy, social skills training, no cages, crates, pens, etc. My dog is fine with other animals, children, adults,…my dog is obedient. Sometimes a dog is like a child…the more time you spend with them the better they turn out in life. I dont parade my dog in front of others then go home and lock it up in a pen or ignore it all day long. I spend time with my dog! Is this a social gathering area for the owners of dogs?
        What is next something for cats?

        • Kim Perez

          I socialize my dogs as well….but on-leash. My oldest dog has gone deaf and I could not let her off-leash without a fenced in area for fear of her eating hurt. That is one of the reasons that I think a dog park would be useful.

        • http://hayspost.com AMERICAN

          You got a pit bull right? I bet his name is spike

          • Kim Perez

            Nope…not a pit bull…not sure why you would assume that…or why it matters though. Please clarify. perhaps i am missing something. Thanks!

          • http://hayspost.com AMERICAN

            Sorry, that post was for uncle tom

          • Kim Perez

            Got it!

  • http://violation just a taxpayer

    This dog park is just another dream project of a few. Anybody remember the FAST program building that was going to be built by volunteer contributors that is now on the taxpayer’s shoulders. Please city commissioners don’t be as gullible as the school board with their pet project. Hats off to Ron Mellick for his comments!!! We/ve already had the county commissioners railroad a project through, does anybody in our positions in this county have any sense at all??

    • Kim Perez

      Not everyone in Hays plays baseball, or goes to the pool….but these projects make Hays a better community. The same is true of a dog park. Yes, not everyone in Hays would use it….but there are enough people who would use it and are interested…and we plan to raise the money ourselves…so what is the harm?

    • Bob

      I agree with Kim, I didn’t support the Sports Complex or FAST because I could care less about sports or The Aquatic Complex (because I liked neighborhood pools). I Supported the Library expansion. I have financially supported the Dog park with small donation. These are just my preferences just like your opinion. A dog park would better the community.

      • Sharla

        I, too, have financially supported the Hays Dog Park because it is a project that will make our community better. Kim has done a wonderful job of organizing this project. I cannot wait to bring my dog!

  • Blind r

    Agree. Either build a real park or none. It’s not like Hays is ” condo-ville” as most lots are big enough for any dogs. let them pay their own way. Their are bigger problems in the world….

    • Kim Perez

      It does need to be fenced in….for the safety of the dogs. Not all dogs can play off-leash and be safe.

  • Tshock

    I hope they do something – I am tired of cleaning up dog %&#$ before every practice at Speier baseball fields.

  • Lance Sauer

    If this goes to an involantary tax then my voluntary donations will go away. Same thing with getting “free land from the city”. The land should be purchsed at fair market prices instead of being stolen from the public by some commissioners.

    • Kim Perez

      I understand your sentiment….but we were told by the commissioners/ parks director that the land we are using would not be used…it would sit there unused….

    • http://hayspost.com AMERICAN

      I see what you mean, this is like fee public land for hunting and free lakes for jet skiing and fishing from the state or free land the county gives for a shooting range, yes a see your point now

  • http://hayspost.com Parks

    Hays has lots and lots of parks, why not change one of them into a “dog park”?

    • Kim Perez

      We looked into that….we suggested that they convert some of the old ball fields to a dog park when the new complex was built…but we were told that Hays needed all of its ball fields. Other parks were too residential and we heard from residents that they don’t want it in their back yards….so we needed a place away from homes. We thought some land out by the airport would work…but the city said they were going to use that….and then Barb Wasinger suggested the sports complex….and it seemed like the best possible option.

  • Uncle Thomas

    How many pet owners are in support of a dog park?
    Have signatures been gathered?
    How do we know what the interest is…less than 1% of the city?

    • Kim Perez

      That is hard to know…..signatures have been gathered, but mostly for the purpose of gathering volunteer info. It is hard to canvas all of Hays to see who is interested. I will say that the rough estimate for pet owners in Hays is 35% and let’s day half of those use it….that is more than 1%. But as I said earlier….I don’t use the ball fields or the pool…but I realize that it makes Hays a better community…and I gladly pay taxes to build and maintain them.

      • Uncle Thomas

        “I will say that the rough estimate for pet owners in Hays is 35%” and of that percentage 1/2 have dogs. So 3/4 of the 17.5% dog owners in Hays have fenced in backyards the other 1/8 dont allow dogs in there vehicles and another 1/8 are two lazy to go to a dog park. Then we have the wind, no shade, etc, etc…no water for luscious grass… so we have one or two dog owners in the middle of a dust bowl…not too practical.

        • Other Chris

          You should be a statistician because you are so good at throwing around numbers like one; either that or you are making broad unknown assumptions about pet owners. How about you stop worrying about Friends of the Dog Park and go Troll elsewhere. Maybe some kids are on your sidewalk right now that you need to yell at :)

          • Chris

            Hey Other Chris! Love your response

        • Cheryl Duffy

          Having a backyard is NOT a substitute for having a community dog park where dogs can really run and play and socialize with other dogs and dog owners.

    • http://hayspost.com AMERICAN

      Why are you such a hard a$$? you don’t have to donate or take your pit bull there , no one forcing you do anything

  • Uncle Thomas

    I say we open a “CAT House”! Charge admission and tax can pay for a dog park, fire stations, ems, schools, jail,….

    • Gus

      Cat house. Now that is a great idea!

    • http://hayspost.com AMERICAN

      Go back and hide in your cave where you can rub your two gold coins together and wait for the end of the world because hays ks got a dog park

  • Dixie Odum

    Goodness Gracious! Lots of negativity towards a group that is working hard to bring a Wonderful Asset to the City of Hays and Surrounding areas…..not to mention al the travelers who stop here for the night and need a place to let their dogs run loose and burn off some steam after being cooped up in the vehicle all day. Hats off the KIM PEREZ who has been working her tail off and sacrificing untold amounts of time to make this Fabulous Dog Park come true. So sad that so many of you here are looking for some Evil Scheme that is being plotted!! I am a member of this group and I can assure you there is NOTHING but Good Intentions behind this Dog Park!! I have visited a Dog Park in Evergreen, Colorado that allowed every size of dog into the same park and I saw no problem during the time I was there. It was wonderful to watch all the dogs coming in and being allowed to run free and explore! Please look for the Positives a Dog Park would lend to our community! If you do not have a dog it is understandable that this might not be something you would get excited about, but I encourage all of the dog owners in our area to step up to the plate and show your support, whether it be monetary or an investment of your time to help out! Any support you can give us would be Greatly Appreciated!!

    • Lexey Bartlett

      Well said, Dixie! As a property owner in Hays, I pay taxes to fund schools, ball fields, and so on that I do not use. However, I would never suggest that I should not have to pay taxes for these things that make our community better. But it should be noted that the Friends of the Hays dog park are NOT asking for tax money to build–merely to be allowed to build a usable dog park once sufficient funds for the usable first phase are raised. It should be noted that we are raising private funds to make a park that all citizens can use on land that otherwise will not be used. Many, many communities in western Kansas have or are starting dog park projects, so clearly there is a desire and use for them even where property owners like me have yards. I’d like for my dog to be able to run free and play with other friendly dogs in a safe space, and I’ve volunteered my time and will donate my money to the dog park. A shorter time to a usable park can only encourage more donations, and having a park people can take their dogs to may draw more small donors out as well. This first phase will not be the full park we eventually will have, but it will be usable for everyone and is a great start.

    • Kim Perez

      Thanks Dixie! Would you be willing to send an email to the commissioners about your experience in the “all dog park” that you visited!?! I think it would be useful. Thanks for your support!

    • Cheryl Duffy

      And even folks who do not own dogs themselves will benefit from living in a community where dogs are well socialized–a community that is attractive to travelers and new families contemplating a move to our town.

  • Uncle Thomas

    Well there you have it folks I ask a few questions and am labeled as part of an “EVIL SCHEME”.
    Dog gone it to the park-sters.

    • http://hayspost.com AMERICAN

      No your acting like all the old selfish white guys in ks worried someone somehow is going to get a penny out of you

  • Dixie Odum

    Yes, Kim, I will be happy to be in contact with the City Commissioners!! I hope others with an interest in this Wonderful Project will join me in sharing their thoughts with our City Commissioners, as well!!

  • tax?

    so no tax money would go toward this?

    • Uncle Thomas

      “tax?”…I guess that means no comment. The Parcel of land must be state or city owned…

      • http://hayspost.com AMERICAN

        So where were you when the city went in with fort hays state to built the sports complex? The state (aka Fort hays state) owned the land ,sales tax paid to built it and now the city owns it

        • tax?

          so would sales tax pay to build the dog park as well?

          • http://hayspost.com AMERICAN

            no

          • tax?

            so then what’s the big deal, why would anyone be against this?

          • http://hayspost american

            THIS IS A RED STATE ,THATS ALL THEY WORRY ABOUT, DON’T TAX ME FOR ANYTHING, UNLESS IT’S ONLY GOOD FOR ME

          • tax?

            actually, I am a Republican and often don’t approve of how tax money is used, but if this project is not funded by taxes, and betters the community, I am all for it.

  • Pingback: News Coverage of Request for Phased Approach | Friends of the Hays Dog Park

  • http://faroukchihair.webs.com CHI Canada

    Good post, i will share with my friends.

  • James Bell

    Friends,

    While I submit that there are services that the city of Hays pays for and maintains that are solely for recreation, such as the water park, I cannot agree with any plans supporting this development of a dog park. I think that in itself a dog park is a good idea, however, as others here have expressed, including Kent Stewert, Heney Schwaller, and Ron Mellick, that phased implementation could require that the city step in to complete the project. While I hear the term, lots of people want this, I could argue, lots of people don’t. Where are the numbers for support? How many people want this. Anecdotal evidence is not enough to make me believe there is a great demand for this project.

    Mellick has expressed concerns about their fundraising abilities. I have one more. Where is the breakdown for what this is going to cost. Why is that information not easily available, and moreover why has it not been published in the daily. It seems that Pat Lowery is a fan of the park, is that why there hasn’t been much about why this project is going to cost $127,000. Fencing according to homewyse.com puts the cost for fencing at about 26,000. (Fencing for the 7 acres) Where is the other $100,000 going towards, water fountains, benches? Of course this $127,000 figure was from their website, but also listed is $109,000. Does Kim Perez know what this will cost, or are we guessing. Again the homewyse.com website lists one acre of fencing at slightly over $14,000, enough for phase 1 where is the other $19,000 going?

    Even if the building doesn’t commence until all the money is in the bank, where is this money going to come from? According their own page they are raising slightly over $1,000 a month. Even for phase 1 they are, at that rate, a year a a half away, for the complete project they are slightly under eight years away form raising the money to complete the project. Is this going to be something I am going to be hearing about for a decade?

    A lot of questions here, hopefully the city commission can get some answers before we start throwing up a park that could end up being another example of a good idea poorly implemented.