The Town of Canby will hold an open day on the proposed dog park

The Town of Canby will hold an open house later this month to discuss plans and gather feedback for a new dog park, a facility that has long been at or near the top of the most desired community projects for residents. residents and leaders, but which met with some opposition because of its cost and its proposed location on the Northern Territorial Highway.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28 in the council chambers of the Canby Civic Center, located at 222 Northeast 2nd Avenue. It will include an overview of the design and concept plan, and participants will have the opportunity to provide comments and suggestions on the proposal.

Canby Dog Park was the subject of intense community interest a decade ago, when the city set up a citizens’ advisory committee to conduct research, identify potential sites and advise council on the design and amenities.

The grassroots effort included a petition with over 500 signatures in favor of a fenced, off-leash dog park in Canby, a series of locally organized ‘Yappy Hour’ events in support of the project and a Facebook Friends of the Canby Dog Park page active until at least October 2020.

Over several years beginning in 2011, developers considered several proposed sites, eventually settling on a six-acre former residential property in the 1500 block of Northeast Territorial Road, which the city purchased in 2008 for expansion. future of the nearby sewage treatment facility. and the layout of the park.

An interdepartmental agreement was signed in August 2012 between the city’s public works and parks departments to exchange land for the development of the dog park at this location.

The project was ultimately scrapped in 2015 due to a lack of funding, particularly for maintenance, causing city leaders to temporarily suspend development of any new park amenities.

And, although the property remains undeveloped, it has begun to see limited use as a kind of informal dog park anyway, with a gravelled parking area and receptacles for trash and dog feces.

Community interest in the project appears to remain high. Consultants hired by the city last year to update its park master plan identified a dog park or off-leash area as the second most wanted new amenity in Canby after a community center with sports fields.

But opposition to the location has grown in recent months, including within the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, with opponents citing concerns about cost, usability, viability and safety.

An earlier draft site plan for the Canby Dog Park on the Northeast Territorial Road.

The planned access road just off Territorial Road is much busier than it was in 2012, it also serves the city’s stores and sewage treatment facility as well as the new medical station at the north side of Canby fire district.

And, exceptionally, although the city owns the property, at least four-fifths of the proposed site is outside the city’s urban growth limits, creating the need to work with Clackamas County officials. and complicates the development process with additional paperwork.

The Parks Advisory Board has expressed a preference for other sites, including a city-owned property on Northwest 3rd Avenue known as Honda Pits, a former gravel pit and landfill until 1960 The city acquired the 14-acre property 33 years later with plans to develop it into park space.

The Canby Skate Park was built on the north side of the property 15 years ago.

At Canby City Council’s last meeting on September 7, Parks and Recreation Advisory Council Chairman Barry Johnson criticized what he said was a failure to consider other places, including the pits Honda or Molalla River State Park – which currently has a not closed off-leash area for dogs.

“I think it would be wise to check all the other locations to see if they would be subject to a lower rate or a better cost,” Johnson said. “You have to do a cost comparison on projects like this.”

Johnson has said he’s not opposed to a dog park in general, which he’s also pointed out in the past.

“I just think we have to make sure we don’t give the dog park a break,” he said. “We seem to be incurring additional costs to put the dog park there, and we’re going to eat that cost.”

The council has budgeted $900,000 for the project, which would be significantly more than other new park facilities in the city’s recent history, such as the aforementioned skate park, which was built for $360,000 in 2008. and the new wading pool at Maple Street Park, which cost about $475,000 two years ago.

But developers say that figure contains contingencies and other items that are unlikely to be included in the final design, meaning the actual cost of the project would be far less than the budgeted amount.

“What we have in front of us is essentially the fully loaded Tesla version of this fleet,” Councilwoman Sarah Spoon said Sept. 7. “But we…almost certainly won’t build the whole prize into that budget.”

For example, the project’s current design includes a perimeter sidewalk with an expected price tag of $144,000, which Spoon said he doesn’t believe the project needs.

“Dogs don’t use sidewalks in the summer,” she said. “It’s too hot and it would be outside the fence, so it doesn’t make much sense to me.”

Removing this item would bring the cost of the project to about $500,000, not including contingencies, Spoon said.

Canby resident Greg Perez was highly critical of the cost and process of the project.

“It’s all nonsense,” he said. “The idea of ​​spending $700,000, $900,000, up to $1 million is inconceivable. People walk their dogs in every subdivision of the community. Dog owners venture into Molalla State Park where they let their dogs run free.

“We have the forest trail for walking, miles and miles, and in the future there will be more added. As counsellors, your fiduciary responsibility is to the whole community as a whole, not just a friendly group you hang out with. »

Perez said more should be invested in amenities for the city’s youth and families, including a community center and sports fields.

Johnson and neighboring resident Mary Doak also expressed concerns about traffic on Territorial Road.

“It’s horrible, and every time they build a new house, the traffic increases,” Doak said. “I just don’t see how it’s going to work. There is already too much traffic on both the service road and Territorial, before you put this in place. I’m afraid we’re heading for a road disaster on Territorial Road.

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