Noelle Gray, who owns Gray's Leather on 34th Street and Nicollet Avenue, really wants a place to take her rescue dog, Rudy, to run off-leash and play with other dogs.
But right now, Gray has to drive to other parts of the city to allow Rudy off-leash time because they live in the 6th Park District of Minneapolis, which is currently the only district in the city that doesn't have an off-leash dog park.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will hear a study tonight about a possible off-leash area in Kingfield's Martin Luther King Park.
Although there will be no voting at the meeting, there will be opportunity for public comment, according to Brad Bourn, park board commissioner for the 6th district. The board will probably create an advisory committee on the proposed off-leash area in mid-December, Bourn said, which will return to the board with an update in late January or early February.
Implementing a dog park in the district has been something the city has considered for quite a while. In 2001, the park board commissioned a study to look into possible locations.
But an incident two years ago—when a Kingfield resident was cited for letting his dogs off-leash in Martin Luther King Jr. Park—spurred a group of residents to approach the Kingfield Neighborhood Association about creating an off-leash park in Southwest Minneapolis, said Sarah Linnes-Robinson, Executive Director of Kingfield Neighborhood Association.
The association's board approved the proposal and sent out a survey that received around 300 responses, mostly supportive. "We spent the next year and a half looking at locations and developing a budget," Linnes-Robinson said.
The association brought their proposal to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in May 2010, and there have been several public meetings. Controversy arose this summer and early fall where some voiced concern about having an off-leash area at Martin Luther King Park, which was named in honor of the slain civil rights leader on Oct. 9, 1968.
The meeting will begin at 4:30 at the MPRB Administrative Offices, Board Room Suite 255, at 2117 West River Rd.