Quinn’s eyed for dog park | ParkRecord.com

Quinn’s eyed for dog park

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Defeated in the effort to build a dog park on the edge of Park Meadows, boosters are scouting spots on the outskirts of Park City that, they say, will not draw the same sort of neighborhood opposition.

Park City officials are quietly restarting their talks about dog-park possibilities with the anticipation that they will find another spot, possibly at Quinn’s Junction.

"I think it works for a bunch of reasons," says Liza Simpson, a member of City Hall’s Recreation Advisory Board who, with others, is considering options.

She says a location at or near the Quinn’s Junction recreation complex is the best spot researched since a majority of the Park City Council rejected the Park Meadows site. Simpson, though, says City Hall staffers may find another location that has not been previously discussed. She expects that research to be completed by the panel’s June or July meeting.

Simpson says the recreation complex, which sits on the northwest corner of the S.R. 248-U.S. 40 interchange, provides enough parking spots and is a place people go to play sports.

On Tuesday, at a poorly attended meeting of the recreation board at the Racquet Club, Simpson and the others addressed the dog-park possibilities and briefly reviewed the controversy about the previous site, known as the ‘North 40’ parcel.

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Simpson, speaking at the meeting, identified two sites at Quinn’s Junction that could be in play. One covers about 1.2 acres and is close to the National Ability Center campus. Simpson said a dog park there could expand to 1.5 acres with an agreement to use a small piece of National Ability Center land.

The other, which was not described in detail, is on the back side of the Park City Ice Arena and Simpson said it could be available through a previous deal between Intermountain Healthcare and City Hall allowing the company to build a hospital at Quinn’s Junction. That land, she said, sprawls for 15 acres but it is unclear what sort of activities or facilities the local government envisions there.

"I don’t think there is anywhere else in Park City to put it," Simpson said about Quinn’s Junction.

There was brief discussion, however, about the potential of a Quinn’s Junction dog park hampering future efforts to expand the recreation complex, which is anchored by the ice arena and also houses softball and soccer fields.

The talks about a dog park on the North 40 land were an unexpected addition to City Hall’s agenda, which is usually dominated by budget talks in the spring. The City Council has drawn unusually large crowds for its discussions about the dog park, with testimony favoring the unhappy neighbors.

If the City Council backed the North 40 parcel, which is about two acres at the base of PC Hill, near the Park City School District campus, officials would have filed the necessary application to the Planning Commission. That would have started another round of meetings.

Many of the people who testified to the City Council, about 25 people at an April meeting, said they liked the idea of building a dog park but the North 40 location, near houses, was inappropriate.

The debate showcased Park City’s canine culture, with loose dogs roaming the city, especially in Old Town, and people saying that, as Park City has grown, there are fewer places for people to take their dogs off leashes.

Meanwhile, pollsters hired by City Hall recently found that Parkites rank a dog park among the biggest recreation needs. The results of the 439-household survey, described as "statistically valid," rank a dog park sixth out of 26 in a list of facilities that people say they need, behind options like fitness equipment, an 18-hole golf course and a pool. Many of the facilities listed already exist in Park City.

An estimated 36 percent say they need a dog park, according to the research, which estimates the number of households in Park City needing a dog park at 971.

Before scrapping the North 40 site, City Hall officials had compiled a list of 11 potential sites for a dog park and had recommended that the controversial parcel be selected.

In the list of 11, the officials had included sites at Quinn’s Junction but outlined concern about putting a dog park on land where fields could be built.

Carol Potter, another member of the Recreation Advisory Board and the head of Mountain Trails Foundation, an advocacy group, says she prefers that the dog park be built near the recreation complex. She says lots of people already go there and she hopes others support the idea.

"That’s a gathering place for all kinds of people. I would prefer to take my dog to a gathering place for all kinds of people," Potter says, adding, "There’s not any houses nearby. You can get there. It’s near trails."