Following strong opposition, Lawrence City Commission declines to move forward with road along dog park

photo by: City of Lawrence

A map shows a connection that would link two existing segments of 27th Street, connecting the Youth Sports Complex to the Clinton Lake spillway, creating another point of access for the complex, the nearby dog park and the lake.

City leaders have declined to hire a consultant for a proposal to build a road alongside the Mutt Run Off-Leash Dog Park, and they have instead voted to remove the project from city plans.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission declined to authorize a $38,960 contract with JEO Consulting Group for community engagement services and preliminary design. Instead, the commission voted unanimously to remove the project from the city’s capital improvement plan.

The road would have bordered the dog park and required it to be fenced, and it had drawn strong opposition from many park users. A petition against the road has about 1,500 signatures, and some commenters told the commission that the project was unnecessary and would destroy a community asset.

“Once you do it, it’s going be really, really hard and take a long time to undo it,” Lawrence resident Scott Taylor said. “Very few communities ever are sorry that they’ve preserved open space.”

Specifically, the project had called for a 1-mile road connecting existing segments of West 27th Street, linking the Kansas Highway 10 and 27th Street intersection to East 902 Road at the dog park. The project would have been funded largely by a Kansas Department of Transportation grant and was proposed to reduce congestion at the intersection and provide another exit from the nearby Youth Sports Complex in emergencies or inclement weather.

Some dog park users said the project wasn’t needed because KDOT was already planning major changes to K-10 and the intersection that could begin as soon as 2024.

The commissioners agreed that the project was not the right solution.

“This adds infrastructure to our community that will be obsolete in five years,” Commissioner Jennifer Ananda said.

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