Pierre City Commission Holds Public Hearing On Possible Dog Park Location

(KCCR) — Residents expressed both support and opposition to the proposed location for the creation of a dog park in Pierre. Eleven residents stepped up to support the establishment of a dog park along East Sully Avenue on city property just east of the Park and Recreation shop building. The committee working on the dog park idea did bring forward a revised outline for the park that includes trees in front of fencing to disguise the park. Carolyn Coonrod says visitors to Pierre could benefit from the park as much as residents…

“I am here as a member of the recreational vehicle community.  If any of you are rec…are R-V owners, when you go in the campgrounds you will see that many of the R-V er’s will take their pets with’em.  In our case, we do not fly because we could not take our dogs.  So I think this will be a really good thing for our community.  I think our Chamber of Commerce…it’s something the Chamber of Commerce could highlight.”
Seven residents, mostly from the homes along East Sully Avenue who would have to deal with the dog park as an across-the-street neighbor expressed opposition to the park for a multitude of reasons including Christina Garrett…

“If this dog park materializes, this peaceful, residential area will be exposed to increased traffic, barking dogs and the smell of dog waste.  But honestly, as she already mentioned, my biggest concern is for my children’s safety, who are only 2 and 4 years-old.  And unfortunately, I’ve personally been a bite victim of a friendly, family dog.  I know all to well that dogs and sometimes their owners are unpredictable creatures.  My children would most likely be an aggressive dog’s first target if it were to come across from the road.  Would you want to be on alert every time you helped your child ride their bike down the driveway?”

Commissioner Jim Mehlhaff says if the dog park becomes reality there is nothing holding the park in that location forever…

“And if it does become a problem, there’s nothing that stops the city from shutting down the park, if it does become a nuisance. If it does become an area that draws a lot of flies.  If the people using it aren’t respecting the property, aren’t respecting the neighbors, aren’t respecting each other, we can simply put a lock on it and take down the fences and convert it back just to open ground.”
Commissioner Vona Johnson made a motion to approve only the location for a dog park at the parcel on East Sully Avenue. Included in Johnson’s motion was the addition of a neighborhood representative to the Dog Park Committee so that neighborhood input can be used in the continued planning process. The motion gained unanimous support from the Pierre City Commission. The public hearing lasted an hour and 15 minutes.