People who live in northeast Johnson County have made it abundantly clear: A dog park in the area is a top priority on their wishlist.
Mission: Dog Park, a volunteer committee of northeast Johnson County residents working toward building a privately-funded dog park, heard from 450 participants in a survey last month to gauge interest in building a dog park in the city of Mission. Committee chair Christina Farmer said “the vast majority” of survey results were positive: at least 95 percent of people said they thought a dog park in Mission would benefit the community.
“I’ve noticed there are lot of dogs in Mission,” Farmer said, adding that the city has multiple thriving pet stores. “(A dog park) is just a need that we have.”
About 60 percent of survey participants are from Mission, while the rest are from Roeland Park, Merriam and surrounding cities. Many participants said they would utilize a dog park on weeknights, adding that neighboring dog parks are anywhere from 7 to 20 miles away to visit after work.
“That was my whole issue with why I wrote a letter to the (Mission) city council in the first place about two years ago,” Farmer said. “I would get home from work and want to take my dog to the dog park, but if it gets dark by 6:30 p.m., well, I don’t have enough time.
“If I had one super close, then I could go and get back and it would still be light out and I would still feel safe.”
Mission: Dog Park is hoping to raise $100,000 in sponsorships, private donations or grants from state or federal agencies to fund the dog park. Some survey participants expressed concerns that Mission would use city tax dollars to fund it.
“They didn’t understand that this is not taxpayer money trying to fund this,” Farmer said.
As part of Mission: Dog Park’s awareness campaign, the committee is hosting Pop Up Dog Park, a free event for dogs and their people. Pop Up Dog Park takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Broadmoor Park, 5701 Broadmoor St. The event offers an off-leash play area for dogs as well as music, vendors and a dog costume contest for dog owners.
“Our whole goal is just to raise awareness that we’re trying to build a dog park,” Farmer said. “We have beautiful dog parks in Johnson County, however, Leawoof, Heritage, and Shawnee Mission Parks are all at least a 20-minute drive from Mission, Merriam, Roeland Park, Fairway and Prairie Village.”
Mission: Dog Park will recommend the council consider one of two potential locations for the 1 to 1.5 acre dog park: Broadmoor Park at Broadmoor Street north of Johnson Drive, and Mohawk Park at 67th Street and Lamar Avenue.