People want some shade at Park City’s dog park |

People want some shade at Park City’s dog park

Dave Zur tosses a Frisbee to Presley, his dog, on Thursday at the dog park at Quinn's Junction. Park City is considering making improvements to the park. Christopher Reeves/Park Record

When it is sunny out, there are not many places for a person, or a dog, to hide from the rays at the dog park at Quinn’s Junction.

That is probably the reason additional shade was the most popular choice when Parkites were asked what improvements they prefer be made at the dog park.

City Hall in 2012 conducted a nonscientific online survey asking questions about the habits of people who bring their pets to the dog park and how the facility could be upgraded.

The results were released earlier in 2013 but did not receive widespread publicity as they were made public while a blanket of snow still covered the area. Ninety-two people completed the survey.

When asked about desired improvements, 72.9 percent listed additional shade. People could pick more than one answer. Others responses included variations in terrain, such as a berm and hills, at 57.6 percent and training-agility equipment and course, at 50.6 percent.

Other responses that received less support were additional benches for people and a separate area for smaller dogs. A sandbox designed for dogs who enjoying digging received support from 9.4 percent of the people who responded.

The dog park, situated off S.R. 248 close to the Park City Ice Arena and fields complex, is the only public place in the city limits where dogs are allowed to be off leash. The dog park is free to use and open to anyone. It is used sporadically as it sits well outside Park City neighborhoods. Some see the dog park as an unappealing place to bring their pet and prefer grassier settings like the field outside the Park City Library and Education Center.

Park City leaders are considering improvements at the dog park, but decisions have not been finalized. The survey results will be considered as the improvements are discussed.

Ken Fisher, who directs Park City’s recreation programs and facilities, said potential improvements include a pavilion for picnics inside the park and terrain features.

He said the upgrades could be made as early as this year. They could be delayed until next spring, though, he said. Prices could run into the low five figures, according to a report to Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council that accompanied the survey results.

The dog park opened in the fall of 2008 after a lengthy civic discussion about a location for such a park. People did not want one built close to their houses, forcing Park City leaders to pick a location outside neighborhoods.

During a meeting in February, some of Park City’s elected officials wondered what sort of upgrades could be made, saying that the dog park is not attractive. Liza Simpson, a Park City Councilor, said at the meeting she wanted the dog park to be "a little less grim."

Some other survey results included:

  • 70.7 percent of the respondents saying that they had attended an obedience class with their dog
  • nearly 48 percent saying that they would be willing to drive up to five miles to an off-leash area. Another 33.7 percent said they would be willing to drive between six and 10 miles. The percentages dropped sharply at a drive of 11 miles or further.
  • once a month was the most popular choice when asked how often someone takes their dog to the dog park. Once a month garnered 25.6 percent of the votes, trailed by 21.1 percent saying two or three times each week. Another 17.8 percent indicated they never used the dog park.
  • when asked to rate the quality of the experience of using the dog park, 46.5 percent said it was good, the most popular response. Another 27.9 percent selected fair while 10.5 percent said poor. Excellent was selected by 9.3 percent of the respondents.
  • nearly 82 percent said they use the dog park to exercise their pet and 76.8 percent said they go to the dog park to socialize their pets. People could select more than one answer to the question. A little more than half — 53.7 percent — selected an answer phrased as "it is the only legal place to have my dog off-leash besides my property."
  • the majority — 64.3 percent — said they would not be more willing to use a dog park if a separate area was created for smaller dogs.

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