By Alyssa Firth
Meridian Times staff writer
Residents expressed concerns about the location for the future dog park at the March 15th township board meeting. The park is planned for Legg Park at 3891 Van Atta Road, just south of the Harris Nature Center.
“I recognize the need for dogs to exercise and I don’t disagree with desires of those wanting to have a dog park. What I do disagree with is the location,” said resident James Kenyon, who lives near the park on Van Atta Road.
The dog park is part of the township’s five-year parks and recreation plan. It would take up about 10 acres of the 103 acre park. The park is still in the planning stages.
“It’s been a long, slow and frustrating process,” parks and land management coordinator Jane Greenway said.
Legg Park, which has been around since 1979, is used by roughly 22 percent of the township according to a community survey given by Parks & Recreation. More than 1,000 residents responded to the survey.
Van Atta Road resident Les Puretz read the survey results and did not see how they reflected the community’s needs.
“It is quite a stretch to make a dog park a priority in a Legg Park when 47.5 percent rated dog parks as a low priority,” Puretz said.
The land was purchased for athletic use in 1994 according to Greenway. The land remained undeveloped until the dog park was proposed. The dog park, parking lot and wildlife habitat areas still need to be planned. Plans so far include a large looping pathway, shaded rest areas, a doggy water fountain, benches, waste receptacles and an agility course according to the Meridian Township website.
“We’re not cutting down trees, it’s not going to be by the river. It’s in a section that used to be farmed (land),” Greenway said.
“I think it’s just hard for people when they get used to it being undeveloped,” Greenway said. “There’s a handful who show up at meetings (to protest it), but we have hundreds of emails supporting it.”