Ypsilanti Township seeks feedback on proposed off-leash dog park

Ypsilanti Township officials are planning to build a new off-leash dog park, and the public is invited to give feedback about its location and design.

A steering committee considered several locations and has narrowed the choices down to three township parks: Ford Heritage Park, Ford Lake Park, and Lakeside Park. Residents are invited to take a survey to give feedback on which park they prefer and how the dog park should be developed.

The proposal to build a dog park came from community feedback during the township's master plan process in 2018, according to Residential Services Director Michael Hoffmeister. During that process, feedback focused heavily on adding amenities throughout the township.

"There was a small subcommittee that worked behind the scenes in 2019 to establish recommendations and then present their initial thoughts to the parks commission and the township board, but COVID-19 got in the way," Hoffmeister says. "We're at a point where we are ready to proceed with development and maybe even construction this year."

Hoffmeister says the largest parks in the township were all considered. The steering committee was looking for locations that were near walking trails, bathrooms, and parking, but not too close to residential areas for noise reasons.

Hoffmeister says the noise issue is probably not a big worry, but "we want to be considerate."

The dog park would have two sections, one for large dogs and another for small dogs, as well as amenities like picnic tables, doggie doo bags, possibly a shelter, and ideally a water source, Hoffmeister says.

Hoffmeister says the steering committee and township officials have studied other dog parks in similar-sized communities to get a sense of what those communities do and don't like about them.

"Dog parks are trendy and popular, and dog owners like the socialization aspect," he says. "They've become incredibly popular during the pandemic, because you can have fun outdoors and spread out."

The public is invited to view maps of each of the proposed locations and comment on the dog park plans via the survey, which is open through March 26. After that, the steering committee will make a presentation to the parks commission during a virtual meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 5. 

The survey can be found here. Any township resident with questions not covered in the survey may email dogpark@ytown.org.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.
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