Rhinelander dog park proposed at Shepard Park
Plans made for different location after Pioneer Park site rejected
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Two weeks after a proposal to place a dog park on the south end of Pioneer Park was rejected on a 5-3 vote by the Rhinelander City Council, the city’s Parks, Buildings and Grounds Committee heard another plan to place the project at a different city park.
Tina Werres, who has been involved for around 10 years in the effort to build a dog park, appeared Monday before the committee to present the latest plans for creating the park, which would involve putting up two fenced areas in Shepard Park near Boyce Drive to separate the large and small dogs with the possibility of fencing in another triangular area by the wastewater treatment center for a “throwing field,” if that area would also be available.
The idea to locate the dog park at Shepard Park had been suggested two weeks earlier by council president George Kirby when he voted against the placing the project at Pioneer Park.
Werres said the plans for a dog park at Shepard Park would allow for an extension of an existing bike trail along with providing room for placing docks or ramps that could be used for kayaks.
Parks Committee chairperson Sherrie Belliveau, who noted Shepard Park had previously been proposed for the dog park project before a “miscommunication between the (former) parks director (Gunder Paulsen), the committee and Tina” took that location out of consideration, asked Werres to present an official site plan of the dog park to the committee.
“It was the original site we approved for a dog park,” Belliveau said. “I guess we’re starting back to Plan A.”
Committee member Alex Young questioned whether locating a dog park at Shepard Park would be compatible with the master plan for the city’s parks.
“There’s different uses and different visions for what each one of these parks could be or (what) could be done,” he said. “I don’t know whether they’re all compatible with each other. If somebody’s going to be out there kayaking on the Pelican River, I don’t know whether they’re going to want the sound of a dog park next to that.”
Young also suggested not making a decision on locating a dog park at Shepard Park before getting public input on the proposal.
“I think that you can’t think about the dog park thing in a vacuum, absent from thinking about the other potential uses of the park,” he said.
Belliveau called for having a proposal in place to locate a dog park at Shepard Park and then decide whether to support or oppose it.
“I don’t think it’s fair to Tina to have her hanging in the wind for 10 years and come back and say, ‘Oops, we’ve got a master plan that’s kind of half-***…,’” Belliveau said.
Committee members took no action on the dog park Monday and asked Werres to provide the committee with more information to consider at its next meeting March 27.