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Parks staff considering dog park

It’s still very early in the process, but the Hastings Parks and Recreation Department is actively looking at options for an off-leash dog park in Hastings.

“We’re trying to move the process forward a little bit because it’s something we know the community is interested in,” said Parks and Recreation Director Chris Jenkins.

A Hastings landowner approached the department with a potential land donation that might be usable as a dog park. The site, a 13-acre patch of land north of the Smead and Hudson buildings along 10th Street, already has a city trail running through it thanks to an easement.

The land donation isn’t the only potential location for a dog park. The department has looked at other parks and other city owned properties as well.

“We’ve tossed around a variety of ideas,” Jenkins said.

For now, staff is doing some preliminary evaluations and waiting to see what will happen with the land donation. If the donation goes through, the next step would be to conduct an environmental study to see what was there in the past and if there’s any liability underground that isn’t immediately apparent. Another part the city would be looking for is public comment.

“If we move forward with it and the donation is successful, then we’d be looking for community input,” Jenkins said.

Preliminary 2014 city budget planning documents show that $50,000 has been proposed for general dog park expenses. The budget has not been approved yet, so that figure can still easily change.

Ideally, Jenkins said, the city would be able to begin work in 2014 if everything falls into place and the appropriate location is identified.