City council to hear plans on dog park


A dog park may be in the cards for Maricopa’s future after all.

Plans to create a dog park at the Rotary Park off Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway came to a halt last year when the Maricopa Dog Park Alliance withdrew its support for that location and Maricopa City Council voted to take half the $20,000 earmarked for capital improvements at the Rotary site and set it aside for a dog park at a different location.

Council members at the time asked city staff to seek out other places where the park could be located.

Almost five months later, city staff is coming back to council with a new plan.

The proposal is to build a dog park in the Heritage District on city-owned property at Lexington and Roosevelt avenues. Brad Hinton, development expeditor for the city, will talk about the proposed new location during the workshop that precedes Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Hinton assists developers with compliance with city processes and helps manage city projects.

The city has earmarked up to $10,000 for capital improvements, such as drainage, and has set aside another $8,000 for maintenance on the proposed site.

The new dog park location has support from the Maricopa Dog Park Alliance.

“We love it,” said Kimberly Diedrich, secretary for the alliance. “It has a nice view, it’s easy for parking and it has mature trees there already. We could not be happier as a group.”

Dietrich said she looked at the site with City Manager Brenda Fischer and Community Services Director John Nixon.

The Heritage District Citizens Advisory Committee was one of the four partners — along with the city, Maricopa Rotary Club and the Dog Park Alliance — working on a plan last year to build the dog park at the Rotary Park.

Though members of the advisory committee were in favor of a dog park somewhere in the Heritage District, they thought the Rotary site was too small to safely operate as a dog park.

Nixon said in September there has been public support for a dog park in the city, but the idea of locating it in the Rotary Park was not supported by a lot of people.

Nixon said when he first became director in 2009 he got three or four phone calls a month asking if Maricopa had a dog park, and, if not, when the city was going to build one. Then, as soon as the word got out the Rotary Park was the designated location, the phone calls stopped, he said.

An online readers’ poll last year showed that 44 percent of 258 respondents believed the city didn’t need a dog park. Thirty-six percent responded they wanted a dog park, but not at the Rotary location, while 16 percent liked the Rotary Park. Four percent were undecided.

Nixon said the area for the dog park at the Rotary Park was only 175 feet by 50 feet, and, when he compared it to other dog parks in the Valley he had looked at, needed to be at least twice that size to work.

Diedrich said the new site, though not large, has about double the space of the Rotary Park.

She said it will be a good “starter park” until a larger city park is built that can include a dog park.

Joe Hoover, chairman of Heritage District Citizens Advisory Committee, said he just found out about the proposal and liked it.

“This would be good because people in the district can walk to it,” he said. “That was one of my suggestions.”

The city is making a presentation to the committee about the park at its monthly meeting Feb. 16, he said.

Before the Lexington Avenue site was chosen, city staff had toured three other sites: a greenbelt in the Glennwildegroves subdivision; a property on Whisker Road in the Seven Ranches area; and the Estrella Gin property, which is west of Lexington site in the Heritage District.