Ashcroft residents Monty Downs with Vivian Edwards and Kitty Murray have an idea to turn a portion of the poll park into a fenced area for families and dogs to stretch their legs.
The group made their proposal to Ashcroft Council at a March 23 committee meeting, hoping for the south end of the lower terrace, an area about 300×690 feet.
“We would like an opportunity to demonstrate that people and pets can recreate together without conflict,” Monty Downs told Council.
The group said they would look for grant money to cover the facilities they wanted for the new area if Council approved letting them use the land. Council has not made a decision yet.
The group would like to fence the area and have double-gated entrances, drinking water, sitting area with trees for shade, doggie bags and garbage cans, a hard surfaced trail and a large open grassed area for play.
Downs said that aside from supporting the Village’s Wellness brand, the new facilities would attract new users to the park and offer social activities for dogs and their owners. He spoke of a place where families with dogs could come and enjoy some time together and where walkers, joggers, roller bladers, bike riders and others could all use the hard surface track.
“We hope to have it in place by the end of the year,” he said, and hold a grand opening at next year’s Wellness Festival.
The group asked the Village for approval in principal, advice or assistance on making grant applications, and direction on providing information to the public.
Coun. Al Mertens said he could envision conflict between dog walkers and other users on the hard track.
Dogs run off leash in the fenced area, said Downs, while people use the track.
He added that the group hoped they could enter into a stewardship agreement with the Village, since the Village already maintains the park.
“You talk about multiple users but people don’t go to dog parks without dogs,” said Jim Duncan, who was in the audience for another discussion.
“I have been to mixed use dog parks,” replied Kitty Murray.
“Are we so afraid of the conflict between man and dogs that we just want to avoid it?” said Downs.