01/01/12 — Payment required to utilize dog park

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Payment required to utilize dog park

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on January 1, 2012 1:50 AM

The Stoney Creek Dog Park will officially open, or close, for business today, depending on interpretation.

The leash-free park was conceptualized as a service provided only to those who pay a registration fee from the beginning, but since the fence was erected this summer its gates have been open to the public.

That ends today as the Parks and Recreation Department will lock the gate. Patrons who have registered their dogs with the department will be allowed to access the area through the use of their keypad code.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said there are nearly 40 registered users of the dog park, with many of the registrants coming in within the past few weeks.

Barnard attributed the increase in registration to signs at the park and registration forms on site, as well as a drop-off box.

Still, after months of using the park for free, he anticipates a lot more registration forms to be handed in when the department begins enforcing the policy with a locked gate.

"We're going to be real busy (this) week," he said.

The cost for registration is $20 for the first dog and $15 for each additional dog. Each owner who registers receives a keypad code and each dog receives a Stoney Creek Dog Park dog tag. Owners must submit shot records and other information with the forms, which can be picked up at the Herman Park Center.

The fees go into a special budget line item specifically for the dog park, Finance Director Kaye Scott said. The total after November was $375, though that total doesn't include any money received in December.

The funds, she said, are to be used directly for improvements and repairs to the dog park. Barnard said the money would likely be used to purchase dog waste bags to encourage patrons to clean up after their pets. The bags are corn starch-based, meaning they will be more environment-friendly than plastic ones.

Barnard said larger projects may be planned in the future for the money, but the department will wait to evaluate how the park is used before investing into large improvements.