Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Brainerd Dispatch: Crosslake: Possible location for dog park

Jan 26, 2018
In The News

A dog park is in the works for the city of Crosslake, and the mayor gave her stamp of approval for its proposed location.

The idea for the dog park came from the Crosslakers group that worked with the Minnesota Design Team in the fall of 2016. Mike O'Connell, who is spearheading the effort, told the city council in a special meeting Thursday, Jan. 18, about the group's hope to put the park on a piece of Department of Natural Resources property at 14472 County Road 36. The site is perhaps better known as the Staircase Landing canoe access near the intersection of county roads 36 and 37 (see map below).

According to state law, a dog park cannot be on private property for insurance purposes.

"We are working with Congressman (Rick) Nolan's staff to create a lease option with the state forestry and the DNR," O'Connell said. "Those funds would be paid for by donations. We're looking at not putting any additional expense on the city if we can."

As far as maintenance duties for the park, O'Connell said he spoke with Public Works Director Ted Strand who said plowing the park in the winter would not be a lot of work and would only take about 10 minutes.

The land is not adjacent to any residential neighbors, and because the property is mostly wetland, O'Connell said only about an acre and a half of land would need improvements for the dog park.

Council members asked about parking spaces, the possible need for restrooms at the park and funding. O'Connell said there is plenty of parking there already, but more can be added if need be. He also said the dog parks in Pequot Lakes and Brainerd don't have public restrooms, so he doesn't see the need for them in Crosslake.

In terms of funding, O'Connell said Pequot Lakes partnered with the Babinski Foundation animal shelter to built its dog park, so that could be an option. The Crosslakers would also raise funds for park construction and upkeep.

"We are looking just for the support of the city of Crosslake to pursue this option with the state forestry," he said.

Mayor Patty Norgaard read a letter she wrote to the DNR expressing the city's support for the dog park, in hopes of helping to secure a lease agreement for the land.

"You are no doubt aware of the Pine River Federal Dam Campground located in Crosslake. Many campers bring their dogs with them. Therefore, the proposed dog park is certain to be a welcome addition to the services the campground already provides," the letter read. "We are requesting that you give careful consideration to our proposal and trust that you will come to a decision that is a benefit to the community as a whole."

Council members Gary Heacox and Dave Nevin agreed to have the letter sent to the DNR.

"I wish (the park) was closer to the people," Heacox said, "but I know what you've been through trying to find a spot, so I don't have any problem with it."

Council members Dave Schrupp and Brad Nelson did not attend the meeting.