Supporters of Deeds Point Dog Park say they are worried that a proposed redevelopment project will reduce the size and quality of one of Dayton’s only and most popular dog parks.
Connor Group wants to build a new private elementary school on land north of the Mad River, across from the Water Street District.
Concept plans shared with the dog park’s board suggest roughly two-thirds of the park could be eliminated, including important amenities, said Butch Richardson, president of Friends of Deeds Point Dog Park.
Richardson said he hopes they can reach an agreement with the developer that keeps the best things about the park.
“We really want to work something out,” he said.
The Connor Group declined to comment.
Deeds Point Dog Park opened in April 2012 and serves as many as 200 or more people each day when the weather is good, Richardson said.
The park is open every day of the year, from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m., Richardson said, and roughly 60% to 70% of visitors live in and around the greater downtown area.
Friends of Deeds Point Dog Park, a nonprofit, takes care of most of the park’s needs.
But the city of Dayton owns the land and its staff mows the grass and removes trash.
Dayton’s public works and park officials have been supportive of the dog park and helpful over the years, Richardson said.
The dog park has no legal claim to the property, officials say, and the property for years has been targeted for redevelopment. Connor Group is interested in buying the land from the city, but no deal has been reached.
Over the summer, a representative with the Connor Group suggested the school campus would not impact the dog park, said Sara Daugherty, secretary of the dog park board.
But more recent site plans suggest the dog park would be reduced to a fraction of its current size, she said.
The park is special because of its size, its wooded areas and the shelter, and all of those aspects are at risk, she said.
“We do not want to lose our park,” she said.
The proposed Greater Dayton School and related facilities could shrink the 2.5-acre park to less than an acre, Richardson said.
He said the redevelopment project could get rid of the park’s amenities, including water service and a shelter with covering, restrooms and storage space. The park also has lighting, trees, picnic tables and some seating.
Richardson said the school sounds like a good project, but he’s worried about the future of the park.
“We got to the point where we felt like we had no choice but to try to defend what we have,” Richardson said.
The developer suggested it might provide funding for park upgrades, but it’s unclear if that would be sufficient to replace the amenities that would be lost, he said.
Richardson also said he’s worried about the impact on park operations if the property switches from city ownership to private ownership.
That, he said, potentially could impact trash pickup and mowing.
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