City postpones decision regarding dog
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[November 23, 2016]
- On Monday evening, with all eight aldermen present, and by
unanimous vote, Lincoln aldermen decided not to make a final
decision on conducting a feasibility study for a dog park at the
city-owned property on Eighth Street, formerly the site of the
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, and more recently dubbed the Apex
at City Center.
After lengthy discussions at the Tuesday night workshop, the
council had said that an item should go on the agenda that would
approve or veto hiring Farnsworth Group to do a preliminary study of
the property to determine how it could be used as a dog park, but
yet retain a portion of the park for its original intended use as a
public outdoor health complex.
In the week that has passed, many aldermen have heard from Lincoln
constituents with questions and concerns about a number of
components of the plan.
Monday evening, when the item came up for a motion, Mayor Marty
Neitzel reminded aldermen that they did have some choices regarding
this topic. She said that the council could remove the item from the
agenda altogether, allowing for more time to research the topic.
They could table the vote, which would keep it on the agenda, but
still permit more time for investigation. Or, if they were ready to
conduct a vote, they could move forward with an “accept” or “reject”
Tracy Welch made a motion to remove the item from the agenda. That
motion was seconded by Michelle Bauer. The topic was then open on
the floor for discussion.
The first person to address the situation was Bauer. She noted that
this choice was not stating that the city is not interested in going
forward with a dog park. She said she had heard many concerns from
constituents that are valid and should be addressed by the council.
Rick Hoefle said that he felt part of the issue was that
constituents are of the belief that the dog park committee is asking
the city to fund the building of the park. He said that the park
committee had stated clearly that it intends to raise the funding on
its own, for the park, and is not asking the city to pay for the
construction of the park.
Bauer said some of the calls she had included concerns about
previous statements that the maintenance costs to the city would be
the same as it is now, taking care of a vacant lot. Bauer said
things that had been mentioned to her were for example that there
needs to be weed-eating around fences, and that will take more
man-hours than are being expended now. Comments had also been made
about the work that would be added to city employees at city hall
for the collection of membership’s fees and maintaining the records
of the memberships.
With no other comments coming from the aldermen, the vote to wait
was taken and passed unanimously.
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Some of the comments made on Tuesday, November 15th related to the financing of
the dog park. Representing the park committee, Brittany McLaughlin had stated
that as soon as the city agreed to a location, the committee would begin
fundraising. She noted that if the city wanted to help with the funding, the
committee would not say no, but they were not asking for money.
The city did plan to foot the bill for the feasibility study, and initially
requested that three locations be studied - the Apex, Melrose Park, and the soon
to be vacated city street department location on Third Street.
McLaughlin did comment at that time, that the committee was completely opposed
to the Third Street property and if the city ended up choosing that location,
the committee would step back, and would not raise money for the construction of
the park at that specific location.
LDN has offered complete coverage of the topic in four recent stories:
10/11/2016 - City will discuss
repurposing Lincoln’s “Apex @ City Center”
City of Lincoln
continues discussion on proposed dog park
how to move forward with a dog park in Lincoln