Madison city leaders to discuss adding 11th dog park

Madison city leaders to discuss adding 11th dog park

Madison is tied with Las Vegas for the most dog parks per capita, according to the Trust for Public Land’s March 2018 rankings with 10 city-wide.

People living on Madison’s east side hope to raise that number by one after a discussion Thursday night.

The City of Madison Parks Division held a public input session Thursday to discuss improvements on the east side of Olbrich Park, in particular, the area behind the old Garver Feed Mill.

District 15 Alder David Ahrens is leading the push for a new dog park there.

“There are still a number of acres of flat land that are not being used that would make a good place for a dog park,” Ahrens said.

The new park would span two acres, a little less than two square blocks. That’s the smallest footprint a dog park takes up in Madison.

The new development would be fenced in, so dogs can run free.

UW-Madison’s Applied Population Lab put together a map using geo-identifying dog licenses to mark where there are dogs in the city. They found the east side had the heaviest concentration of dogs, but people living near Olbrich Park don’t have a dog park within walking distance.

“Probably most of the people on this block and other blocks have dogs,” Ahrens said. “But the nearest dog park is miles away from here, so that would be a well-situated site.”

Madison city leaders to discuss adding 11th dog park

At the meeting Thursday night, city staff reviewed current site conditions and gathered input on proposed improvements and alternative uses from people living on the east side. The meeting ran from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Olbrich Botanical Gardens Commons room.

During the meeting, residents gave feedback in polls and opened the floor for discussion. Participants were voting on whether they preferred an off-leash dog park, an on-leash dog park or a series of walking paths. Residents gave a wide variety of opinions and feedback on whether they supported the move or not.

If this 11th dog park gets the green light, Madison would break the tie with Las Vegas for the most dog parks per capita, landing just behind Norfolk, Virginia. Right now, Boise, Idaho, tops the list of most dog parks, with nearly seven for every 100,000.

The parks division will be holding a second public forum to give residents who could not attend the chance to give their opinion. A date for that meeting has not yet been set.