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Washington Dog Park Efforts Grow, For and Against

Updated: Tuesday, June 3 2014, 05:27 PM CDT
SPRINGFIELD -- As a group fighting for a
dog park in Springfield's Washington Park are close to being finalists
in a nationwide competition for funding, those who oppose it are gaining

Kriscenda Knox lives directly across from Washington Park and the
proposed site for a dog park. She says she's not necessarily against the
dog park; she's against this location. She's worried about nearby
property values and noise among other concerns.

"I entertain. I don't want my guests to have to inhale dog feces. this
basically was shoved down the neighborhood's throat," Knox said.

Last week, she says she put three signs like this one in her yard. The next day, they were gone.

"It's not going to stop us from voicing our opinion," she said.

Currently, the city's only dog park is in Stuart Park.

While comparing aerial views of both parks, Knox said she didn't want
historical Washington Park to look like the dog park at Stuart.

"We want to keep that historical nature," said Dr. Karen Hoelzer, who is
the one spearheading the dog park. She tells us a
landscape architect determined the area off Chatham Road is the best
spot for a dog park in Washington Park.

Hoelzer said, "We won't be changing the the footprint of the park or any
structures here, it's basically just a fence. The purpose of the park
changes over time as the needs of the park change. The Carillon hasn't
always been here. The botanical gardens haven't always been here. The
park needs to adapt and change to the needs of the people."

Gray Noll has been on the Springfield Park District board of trustees for seven years. He's still neutral on the dog park.

Noll said, "This is definitely the most passionate I've ever seen the
public about anything I've encountered on the board so far - both for
and against people have been reaching out."

In the proposed plan, funding for the dog park, including maintenance
costs, would come solely from community donations. Supporters have
raised more than $80,000 of their $100,000 goal since December. The
group is also in a nationwide contest to win up to $100,000 to build a
dog park.

Hoelzer says there were signs in the park to encourage people to vote in the contest, but they went missing.

"It's not a big deal but it's a little frustrating," Hoelzer said.

As supporters continue fundraising efforts, opponents are gathering signatures on a petition; there's more than 100 so far.

"I know it will grow," Knox said.

The Springfield Park District board will likely hold at least two more public meetings on the proposed dog park before voting.

To get involved with the dog park, whether you're for it or against it, we've got more information here.Washington Dog Park Efforts Grow, For and Against

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