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Proposal could have Hart Park going to the dogs

Proposal would make licensed dogs legal in revamped park

Sept. 9, 2009

Dogs would be allowed to play in Hart Park if the city adopts new park rules brought before a Common Council committee Tuesday night.

With new athletic facilities and the Rotary Performance Pavilion more people are coming into the park every day. Many are already bringing their four-legged family members, although it is not actually allowed, Parks & Forestry Supervisor Ken Walbrandt said.

"A lot are walking through with their owners on the bike trail, but once they enter the park, they're not legal," he said.

It would just be easier to permit all licensed dogs on leashes to come into the park, Walbrandt said.

The dog allowance counts as one of the many rules recommended to be incorporated into the park operations ordinance by the Parks & Forestry Board in August. That list got unanimous support from the Community Development Committee. Because the issue calls for changing an ordinance, it will be back to the committee for a second look Sept. 29.

The proposed rules would also ban smoking in the new athletic stadium, and athletes will have to refrain from chewing gum, eating seeds and nuts, or guzzling sports drinks on the field or track

One change - not allowing people on the running track until 7 a.m. weekdays and 8 p.m. weekends - will likely garner angry calls from the public, Alderman Jerry Stepaniak said.

"There are a whole lot of runners who are out before seven in the morning," he said.

The times align with when staff can supervise the track and the new synthetic turf field, Walbrandt said.

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