Dog park

Commerce City Manager Darrek Ferrell (left, standing) speaks to members of the City Council and the Parks Advisory Board during a special meeting to discuss the feasibility of a dog park held last week.

The Commerce City Council met with members of the city’s Parks Advisory Board in a special session last Wednesday to discuss the feasibility of a dog park in Commerce.

The call for a dog park began gaining steam in late 2018 with the running of a “Dog 5k” that raised funds for a future park. Thousands of dollars were raised from the event, and interest grew. 

In 2019, an interest survey was released to the community, and more than 200 responses were given, with the overwhelming majority being extremely positive on the creation of a dog park.

Now, the parks board made a presentation to see how possible it would be to go for such a venture.

Jennie Reynolds, one of the newest members of the board, led the presentation. The vision for a dog park was first brought before the board by her, and they took her on as a member to push that vision. Reynolds’ presentation gave some figures about cost and usage, and examples of other successful dog parks.

According to Reynolds’ research, the average size of a dog park in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area is 3.32 acres, and are split into separate areas for large and small dogs.

Reynolds says that the park could start out simple but add more in phases. Amenities such as water fountains and shaded areas would be big pluses as well.

The goal would be to fund 100-percent of construction through donations, but have the city foot the bill for maintenance. Some council members balked at the idea of using city funds when the city is already in a tight situation both financially and with a smaller number of employees.

“We, as taxpayers, have to spend the money where it would do the most good,” said council member Jean Klaus. “I don’t know how much we could contribute.”

Council member Stephanie Muller agreed, saying that “maintenance should be out of the city’s hands. We are already so stressed as it is.”

While the idea of city funding was not going over well, council members still said they support the idea if it can be completed through crowd funding.

“I came into this meeting against it,” said council member Beckey Thompson. “But I think you really have something here. If you get animal-lovers behind this, I think this could be successful.”

Mayor Wyman Williams stated that for him to support the project, it would have to be done privately without the use of city funds.

Some potential locations were discussed, with the top two being the location of the former Hunt Regional Community Hospital on Sterling Hart Drive, or the field directly south of the Commerce Independent School District Administration Building. The price is estimated at about $30,000.

The next step is the formation of an advocacy group to raise funds and awareness for the project. For more information on how to get involved, contact Jennie Reynolds at 903-413-4667.