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Foothills again sniffing around dog park

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Rec district would teaam with metro district to establish area near Sledding Hill

By Ramsey Scott

Man’s best friend my have a new place to roam in the next few years. 

The Foothills Park and Recreation District and the Ken-Caryl Ranch Metropolitan District are looking to work together to open a dog park in South Jeffco. 

Ron Hopp, Foothills executive director, said the two districts are in the preliminary stages of gauging public support for a new dog park. Since both districts provide recreational activities, Hopp said, it makes sense for them to work together. 

“A dog park would be a nice amenity for the district. There are dog parks that surround the district that are heavily used, especially by our population,” Hopp said. “The trick is finding a location that’s not too close to homes or a place where it would be a nuisance or an eyesore, since they’re heavily used.”

The lot next to the Sledding Hill parking lot at South Kipling Parkway and West Ken Caryl Avenue is one potential location, Hopp said. The property is owned by Jefferson County and managed by Foothills.

Hopp said a dog park is considered an acceptable use of the property under the management contract with Jeffco.

The two districts will hold a public meeting on the idea at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Ken-Caryl Ranch House, 7676 S. Continental Divide Road. 

Hopp said that, about four years ago, Foothills was close to building a dog park in the district. With the help of a group of canine advocates, Hopp said, the district was able to secure a grant from Jefferson County’s Conservation Trust Fund. 

“We had taken a look at different locations and secured some funding to build a dog park,” Hopp said. “Yet one of the locations we looked at in the past met with some resistance.”

Much of that resistance came from residents near the possible locations, Hopp said. Concerns centered on increased noise and car traffic.

That’s what makes the Sledding Hill interesting as a location, said Darrell Windes, manager of the Ken-Caryl Ranch Metro District. That location already has parking facilities and is relatively isolated from residential areas. 

“A lot of (resistance to the idea) is the additional traffic and activity levels near people’s homes,” Windes said. “In the area we selected, it really isn’t adjacent to any residences, and it’s an area that’s off an open space parcel.”

For a dog park to become a reality, Hopp said, it would require community involvement and another grant for funding. In 2009, the district estimated the cost of building a dog park at $150,000. 

Most of the expense would come in fencing the property and providing a water source. Hopp said Jeffco requires dog parks to have a water source, mostly as a cooling method as opposed to a drinking station. 

“Both districts don’t really have the funds to do that; it’s not in our budget or identified in any capital funds,” Hopp said. “Ideally, we’d love to engage the public to be a part of this and to potentially take a lead role in helping us find grant resources or private donations to build it, so it’s not coming out of tax dollars. We’d also like to find a group to help us possibly maintain the park.”

Those interested may contact either Ronald Hopp at 303-409-2107 or Darrell Windes at 303-979-1876.

 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check back at www.columbinecourier.com for updates.