By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — City officials are taking applications from residents interested in serving on a subcommittee to advance a possible dog park in Wausau.
In an email, City Council Member Pat Peckham said the main task of the Parks and Recreation subcommittee would be to “finesse ways of getting donations that would be matched in some proportion by city dollars to make this come about.” Two council members, David Nutting and Tom Neal, will serve as subcommittee members, along with five Wausau residents.
Interested city of Wausau residents should call the parks department at 715-261-1550 or the mayor’s office at 715-261-6800. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Nov. 21.
“Providing a dog park has been a priority for the [Parks and Recreation] committee for two years,” Peckahm said. “Cursory design work is done, we have a spot and we have a cost estimate of $143,000. Accomplishing that was good, but when stacked up against other city needs, the dog park idea finished about in the middle of the budget priority rankings. The committee hopes being able to show community financial support to pay for a portion of the new park will make the project more likely in 2019.”
A proposed dog park near downtown Wausau would include an agility area, walking paths, a permanent shelter and other amenities. A community group, WAUSdog, has already been spearheading efforts to move the park forward and critics say the park could be created with fewer amenities to reduce the $143,000 price tag.
The city currently has limited off-leash hours for dogs at several local parks but does not have a dedicated dog park. Weston’s dog park opened more than a decade ago, and a dog park in Rib Mountain opened earlier this year.
The 2-acre parcel, located at 224 S. Fourth Street, was selected over three alternate sites. The city purchased the property in 2007 for just under $19,000.