NL city council approves reallocation of funding for dog park

NL city council approves reallocation of funding for dog park
KCJJ Staff

The North Liberty city council has put its support behind building the city’s first dog park.

The city council on Tuesday directed city staff to reallocate $225,000 in funding which had been tagged for park lighting to go toward the purchase of roughly 11.5 acres of land at the northeast corner of Penn Street and North Liberty Road on the city’s far northeast side.

“I think the community’s been clamoring for this for at least the nine years that I’ve lived here,” city council member Jennifer Goings said. “So, I think, the opportunity with the land and Dog PAC and I know Friends of the Animal Center Foundation – there’s some opportunity to work with them and find some grant funding.

“I think it’s an opportunity we should not be passing up at this point.”

The initial estimate for the cost of the park released by the city was $750,000, though city administrator Ryan Heiar told the council on Tuesday that estimate may be on the high end.

Johnson County Dog PAC has already raised $50,000 for the park, presenting the city with that check on Tuesday. The city will also have $30,000 in its hotel/motel tax fund next fiscal year which could be put toward the park.

JC Dog PAC president Jake Villhauer says they continue to take donations and Mayor Terry Donahue says obviously the fundraising is going to be done incrementally due to the large cost.

Once finished, officials plan for more than seven acres of fenced-in park area, as well as parking, benches and a shelter. They won’t have to worry about updating the roads in the area, as the city and county recently partnered to upgrade and change the curve which will be adjacent to the park to handle expected higher traffic loads due to development in the area and the newly-opened Liberty High School.

Guy Goldsmith, city parks director, says moving the funding from the lighting project is not a big deal because they were re-evaluating that purchase, anyway, due to updates since initial plans were made.