Four-legged Midlothian residents received good news from the city council during its Tuesday meeting when the board unanimously approved to move forward with the creation of a $375,000 dog park.
The park will be located on six acres on Walter Stephenson Road and is set to open in the later part of the current fiscal year. Funding for the park comes from the Midlothian Community Development Corporation, which focuses its efforts on the maintenance and operating costs of city-owned projects like parks, roads, auditoriums, learning centers, open spaces, and athletic and exhibition facilities. The funding stems from the 4B half-of-a-cent sales tax.
Director of Parks and Recreation Brad Barnes stated the public has indicated through public hearings and surveys that a dog park has long been a desired amenity. He shared — to make the park a reality — the most significant hurdle is the clearing of the land and connecting the infrastructure to it.
“The big costs are we have got to get utilities out there. We have water and sewer that are right across the street, so we will be able to take those and get those over there,” Barnes said. “There is electricity that runs on Walter Stephenson. So it is just a matter of having an electrical provider to drop the lines, install the meters, and running a little of that underground.”
Barnes stated the city’s information technology department would create a Wi-Fi access point for park guests to access. Cameras will be installed to provide security, as well.
The dog park and restroom building will be surrounded by 2,000 feet of fencing, which will separate it from the concrete parking lot. A tandem gate will help control dogs access to the park. Once inside the gated area, there is a small shoot that leads the dog to another gate and then into the central park area.
Inside the park will be an open, grassy area where dogs are free to be off of a leash. There is also a one-third-mile walking trail that residents can utilize during their visit.
Barnes explained other amenities would include dog-agility courses. These amenities are something the city wants public feedback on and officials will look at adding those in the future development of the park.
Nearby cities with dog parks include Waxahachie, Arlington, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Grand Prairie.
The Trust for Public Land website states off-leash dog parks led growth in new urban parks by four percent in 2015 and 89 percent since 2007.
Barnes feels the park will make a great addition and will be highly used by the public.
“I believe that this is going to be very popular," Barnes said. "I am looking forward to the grand opening already.”
Barnes added before the park opens the city will diligently develop policies and ordinances to govern the park.
In other business the council,
• Presented a proclamation to Meals on Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties.
• Approved a resolution authorizing the use of a temporary concert batch plant for the Autumn Run phase three to be used to pave roads.
• Approved a resolution authorizing the use of a temporary concert batch plant for the paving of 14th Street extension south between Ashford Lane and McAlpin Road.
• Denied an ordinance changing the zoning of property located on the North side of U.S. Highway 287 near Rex Odom Drive from an agricultural district to a planned development with a community retail district base zoning. It also granted a specific use permit for a convenience store with drive-thru services.
• Approved an ordinance amending and restating the use and development regulations of planned development district 94 located on the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 67and Main Street.
• Approved an ordinance for a 12.689-acre tract of land located west of 14th Street between Mount Zion Road and Hawkins Run Road from Agricultural to a planned development and amending and restating the development and use regulations.
• Approved an ordinance amending and restating the use and development regulations of planned development district 84 relating to the use of development of 14.407 acres located South of Midlothian Parkway and north of Mount Zion Road.
• Approved an expenditure of $79,000 of matching funds for a Texas Department of Transportation Aviation grant project to construct security fencing at Mid-Way Regional Airport for $79,000.
• Approved a resolution approving an expenditure of $45,000 to be awarded by the MCDC to fund the construction of curbing around the landscaped medians on Main Street.