The biggest hurdle to building a dog park in McPherson may be educating the public, Mayor Tom Brown told a group gathered at The Well Monday night.


The biggest hurdle to building a dog park in McPherson may be educating the public, Mayor Tom Brown told a group gathered at The Well Monday night.
A group of about 30 people, mostly in support of a proposed dog park in the city, met at The Well to talk about formalizing efforts to build a park.
A number of locations were discussed, including current city parks, industrial and commercial property, private property and city land that is not now being used as parks.
However, Brown said at this point, wherever the city decides to build a park, it will meet opposition.
“Education needs to be your No. 1 priority,” he said.
Brown said the previous mayor had suggested several locations for a park, and they were shot down. Brown also has suggested a couple of locations for a park, including Hess Park, and those too have met with opposition.
Charles Buckaloo, who helped build the dog park in Hutchinson four years ago, said people envision dog parks as being noisy and dirty, but this is not the case.
“I went to some of your parks, and I could hear a ball game going on way out that way and children yelling at the playground,” he said. “I guarantee our dog park is quieter than any child’s playground. The dogs are running around and playing. They are not barking.”
Buckaloo did not suggest locating a dog park near residential homes. He said the dogs in the park will not be a problem, but the dogs at nearby residences, who could see the other dogs, would bark.
At least one attendee of the meeting echoed this sentiment. She said she lived next door to a park, and although she supported the concept of a dog park, she did not support it in a residential area.
As to the cleanliness of dog parks, the Hutchinson dog park is equipped with poop stations. Buckaloo said users of the park have been very good about keeping the park clean.
“If my dog is in there, I clean up after him. I don’t mind picking up something because next time it might be my dog that goes behind a bush,” he said.
Traci Parrish, organizer of the meeting, said it is her hope the park could be built in phases with donated funds and no use of public money.
The group Monday discussed the possibility of setting up a fund through the McPherson Community Foundation with a long-term goal of creating its own nonprofit entity that could assist with animal welfare issues in the community.
The group has not yet set another meeting time, however, meeting attendees discussed the possibility of forming several committees to address issues including, site selection, fundraising and public education.
For more information, like Mac Dog Park on Facebook or call Parrish at 620-242-3184.