The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has begun studying ways to improve the city’s off-leash dog park below Clinton Lake Dam, and department leaders said building a canine swimming pond is high on their list.
Department leaders told the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on Tuesday that a recent survey of dog-park users indicated providing easier access to the water was an important item for dog owners.
Many users of the park have been taking their dogs to a small waterfall area on the Wakarusa River that is adjacent to the park. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has expressed concern about the practice. The Corps of Engineers owns the property below the Clinton Lake Dam but leases much of it to the city of Lawrence.
But Mark Hecker, the city’s parks superintendent, said there does appear to be an opportunity to build a small pond along one of the drainage ways that travels through the dog park.
“How large it can be is still something we need to discuss, but it could be around a quarter of an acre,” Hecker said.
Plans for the pond would need to win approval from the Corps of Engineers, and the city would need to finalize its funding source for the improvements.
The survey of dog park users also has parks and recreation leaders considering several other improvements to the approximately 80 acre park. They include:
• Improved markings for trails;
• A dog wash station;
• Small fenced area of about a half-acre that would allow dog owners a place to run their dogs without worrying they will escape into the countryside.
Hecker said some of the work to improve trails would likely begin soon, while other improvements would not begin until later this summer.