August 9, 2012 by Sarah M
By Nick Halter
When the Minneapolis Park Board in December finally picked a site for a new dog park in Southwest, officials had hoped to have selected a contractor by spring and started construction by summer.
But issues with drainage at the selected site — Lyndale Farmstead Park — have slowed the process, said Jennifer Ringold, manager of public engagement and citywide planning. The Park Board had planned to use a wood chip base on the land, but Ringold said the city of Minneapolis raised concerns about the impact of floods washing the chips into the nearby stormwater pond and damaging the system.
Instead, the Park Board is planning to use a crushed granite material, which Ringold described as being similar to that used on baseball diamonds but with more adhesiveness to prevent runoff. The Park Board is planning an Aug. 22 meeting at Lyndale Farmstead Park to discuss the material with neighbors and members of a citizen committee that chose the site.
Some neighbors are frustrated by the delay. Many had hoped for a late summer opening, but now it appears that the contract for construction won’t go out to bid until later in August with a September groundbreaking.
Ringold said the city is on board with the idea of using a gravel surface and the goal is now to have the park done before January.
“I think that people are concerned it’s taking so long, and we’re definitely apologetic for that and wanting to move it along as fast as we can,” she said.
Ringold said it’s not possible to use a grass surface because the park will be relatively small and it wouldn’t last with dogs running over it.
David Brauer, who was a member of the citizen committee that chose the site, said he actually prefers a harder surface to woodchips. Woodchips, he said, are kind of ugly and get dirty from dog feces.
Brauer plans to attend the Aug. 22 meeting because he wants to know more about the new material as well as to get more details on any potential changes to the concept plan for the site passed back in December.
He’s not upset by how long it’s taken, though he did expect the park to be open this fall at latest.
“I’m not outraged. I don’t get the sense that the Park Board was dragging its feet,” Brauer said. “I am way more concerned that they do this right than do it fast.”
The Aug. 22 meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.