Hastings City Council members made no comment last night after a long list of complaints by the chairman of the Hastings Dog Park Companions (HDPC), mainly about the ongoing months-long turmoil inside the dog park committee. The controversy has caused concern by some that with the bad feelings in the committee and the termination of the agreement between the city and the HDPC, the park might close, with many dog owners asking the city to find a way to keep it.
City Manager Jeff Mansfield explained what is going on now and the future of the dog park after the city ends its agreement Jan. 16. The city expects to continue maintaining the park following the termination.
“Staff has been providing maintenance at the dog park for some time now, and things are going very well, so continuing to do so is certainly not a problem,” he said.
“Our staff has lots of experience doing so and is very skilled at those types of operations … based on reports from a variety of folks, the dog park is seeing more use than ever.”
Mansfield said the council will work with the HDPC and their attorney to amicably determine the appropriate transfer or distribution of assets at the site – both those that are affixed to the property and those that are not. The city council will consider a variety of ways to solicit the assistance and input of dog owners and users of the park as it continues in operation, he said.
They will also consider alternate forms of governance for the dog park in the coming months, including the possible formation of an advisory committee, such as they have with Riverside Cemetery and the Hastings Outdoor Nature Area, or even the possibility of contracting for certain operations at the dog park, he said.
“I believe everyone involved in this matter views the dog park as a wonderful asset in the Hastings community. And, I think the city council wants to find a way to operate the park in a manner that maximizes its value for the users and for the entire community.”