There aren’t any canine parks in west Wichita. Some Metropolis Council members need to change that

When Reece Hembree takes his canine, Simba, to the canine park, he has to drive east. That’s as a result of Hembree lives out west, and the closest canine park is on Meridian, in north central Wichita.

“The closest one I noticed was like 11 to 12 miles away, and I used to be like, ‘OK,’” he stated. “It’s not unhealthy, however it could be fairly handy to have one someplace in west Wichita.”

That’s a typical request, the 2 Metropolis Council members who signify west Wichita say.

“It’s one thing that’s introduced up in my district board advisory conferences, it’s one thing that folks have hit me up in public about, and I feel it’s as a result of, you already know, they see all of the neat canine parks at Harrison Park, and out east, and different areas of town,” stated council member Jeff Blubaugh, who represents District 4 in southwest Wichita.

Bryan Frye, who represents District 5 in northwest Wichita, stated he has heard requests for a canine park throughout seven years on the council and eight years on the park board.

“The west aspect has lacked a facility for canine house owners and their pets so it’s all the time been a want to get one. So then finances wants and capital requests it’s been a tricky ask, however the demand has not gone away,” Frye stated.

There are 5 canine parks within the metropolis — one south, one southeast, two north and one downtown.

When Frye requested metropolis workers for the variety of canine licenses in west Wichita, he was stunned to see that the world — which incorporates ZIP codes 67212, 67205, 67209 and 67235 — had roughly 9,000 licenses. That’s very excessive for a spot with no canine park, Frye stated. As compared, the world that serves the Meridian canine park has about 4,800 licenses, and the world that serves Chapin Canine Park has about 6,700.

“The demand is actually there. The variety of canine licenses actually proves it,” Frye stated. “And the variety of requests that I’ve acquired from neighbors has actually added to that.”

How a lot wouldn’t it value to place a canine park out west? That relies upon, Frye stated.

“There’s a number of issues you need to look into,” he stated. “Land, clearly. If we already personal the land makes much more sense than buying. You need to ensure you have entry to a water supply, so the pets might be hydrated. Lighting for safety, clearly. And if there’s already parking or if it’s essential add parking. Clearly it’s essential construct a fence, corrals and shade buildings … all these issues consider.”

Relying on these elements, Frye stated it may take between $350,000 and $750,000 to construct a canine park.

Throughout a metropolis finances retreat in Might, Frye introduced up the subject of canine parks in west Wichita when the council was discussing park initiatives, together with three new canine parks. They mentioned the potential for a west Wichita canine park being in-built Nation Acres however are additionally different places and choices. The proposed capital enchancment program allocates $750,000 for Nation Acres in 2023.

“The opposite two are extra simply conceptual, increasing our community of canine parks, whereas the one at Nation Acres is extra particular,” Mark Manning, metropolis treasurer, stated.

Blubaugh introduced up the concept of including a canine park to Pawnee Prairie Park, which has over 400 acres in southwest Wichita.

“Simply because the big dimension of the park, the attendance has actually gone up on the park … individuals are already strolling their canine on the market, it could be type of good to have a free run space,” he stated.

Blubaugh’s district advisory board is wanting into turning the Pawnee Prairie shelter constructing right into a neighborhood heart and allocating an space for an animal shelter and a canine park. The subsequent step is taking it to the park division.

As a result of Pawnee Prairie Park is a nature reserve space, and an undeveloped park, it could not be very best for a canine park, Director of Parks and Recreation Troy Houtman stated. It additionally has paths for horseback driving.

“Introducing canine on a big foundation with all of the exercise would scare away all of the wildlife that folks actually get pleasure from,” Houtman stated.

There are a lot of elements to think about when choosing a location for a canine park, Houtman stated. The positioning must be remoted, or no less than not round neighborhoods so neighbors gained’t be disturbed. It additionally must have parking, shade and a water supply.

Pawnee Prairie doesn’t have an accessible water supply, Houtman stated.

“These are the main issues we actually search for with regard to what could be the most effective location,” Houtman stated.

Hembree stated that he could be enthusiastic about seeing some areas out west repurposed.

“They may repurpose some space in Sedgwick County Park possibly. There’s loads of house out someplace,” Hembree stated. “My home isn’t fenced in so I can’t simply let him out.”

Sedgwick County Park is a county park that’s not below metropolis management.

So as to carry a canine park to west Wichita, it must be budgeted within the metropolis’s capital enchancment plan. The present proposal allocates $600,000 for canine parks — $300,000 for 2023 and one other $300,000 for 2024. Frye stated it could be very best to discover a associate for the park.

“Perhaps there’s a non-public trade, or group or person who want to assist fund it,” Frye stated. “That would velocity issues up and add extra facilities for not solely the canine but additionally the house owners. All of that’s going to take a while, clearly.

“I’m nonetheless hopeful that by subsequent 12 months we’ll have one thing open to the general public if we may get it going this 12 months.”

Houtman stated canine parks are vital for a lot of causes.

“The recognition of the canine parks isn’t [just] for the socialization of canine, but additionally for the individuals as nicely,” Houtman stated. “They create their very own networks and it’s actually attention-grabbing to see how they’re supportive of one another. It’s a good way for them to find out about all of the completely different breeds of canine, who’s the most effective vet, who’s canine sitting.

“There’s a complete neighborhood all collectively.”

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