Mission mayoral and city council candidates on the issues: Potential dog park at Broadmoor Park

Broadmoor Park in Mission

Mission mayoral and city council candidates weigh in on the possibility of a dog park at Broadmoor Park. File photo.

The Post asked readers in August about the issues they wanted to hear candidates running for Mission mayor and city council seats address. Based on that feedback, we developed a five-item questionnaire with the most important issues to Mission residents.

Each day this week, we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to one of five questions. Today, we’re publishing candidates’ responses to the following question:

This summer, Mission kicked off a conceptual redesign for Broadmoor Park, located just off Johnson Drive. A one-acre dog park is included in the plans for the redesign, which is consistent with city officials’ previous statements that if a dog park were to be built in Mission, it would likely be at Broadmoor Park. But residents had mixed emotions about the potential dog park — some thought it would be a nice amenity, while others were concerned about maintenance and safety. Do you support the years-long initiative to bring a dog park to Broadmoor Park? Why or why not?

Below are the answers the Post received from candidates on this issue:

Ward 4

Ben Chociej

It’s clear from resident surveys that a dog park is a highly demanded amenity. It’s second in popularity only to street repairs. And Parks & Recreation is one area where residents should expect more from their tax dollars. So, I’m in favor of delivering the dog park our citizens want.

The most difficult part has been finding a location that is readily developable, close to users, not frequented by another activity, and unencumbered by easements and restrictions. Broadmoor Park is not the only location that has been discussed. Also recently considered is Streamway Park, which faces challenges in KDOT ownership, utility rights-of-way, and vehicle & pedestrian access via adjacent private property. This option is being investigated presently by city staff and our planning firm. Finally, there are the undeveloped Wastewater parcels at the southeast corner of Lamar Ave and Foxridge Dr, which currently host the community garden but have ample empty land available. Discussion about these parcels seems to have waned, but they still seem plausible.

Each location has benefits, drawbacks, and barriers. But city staff, council, and commissions will be able to work out the most favorable option and plot a course for how to proceed. Because dollars have been earmarked from the general fund for a dog park, the outcome is likely a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’. I will join with existing advocates on the governing body to ensure that the dog park becomes a reality rather than continuing to be stymied by analysis paralysis. When city staff have been able to develop a reasonable plan, I will strongly support it. And I will continue working with the Parks and Recreation Director and the Parks, Recreation, and Trees Commission (of which I’m currently a member) to help solve those challenges and continue identifying creative solutions to get the job done.

In the meantime, our parks face much more fundamental and urgent needs. I will promote the installation or improvement of restrooms, pavilions, updated playground equipment, benches, and trails in our parks. I do not want to see the dog park effort delay any of those vital improvements. To that end, I am glad there is money set aside for the dog park which does not affect existing parks funding. And I will advocate for increased park funding via grants and bonds in order to deliver the parks experience our residents deserve.

Ray Ruecker

I don’t support Broadmoor Park. It’s too small and parking is limited. Other options should be the north end of Lamar near the wastewater facility or at Mohawk Park with much larger space.

Mayor

Sollie Flora

I firmly support the creation of a dog park, but believe that the location remains an open question. Parks are a community asset, and we have to balance any neighborhood concerns with city-wide preferences in a way that makes sense. I hope that we can continue to have a productive dialogue about where a dog park makes sense and come to a resolution in a manner where all voices feel they have been heard.

In the 2015 Parks Master Plan, a dog park came out of the public input process as a top priority (of many). Following that, in 2016/2017, the city put together a dog park advisory group, of which I was a member before joining the City Council. The sentiment at that time was that there was broad support for a dog park but ongoing uncertainty about location and some concern about expense. Later, a Friends of the Dog Park group formed, which encouraged the City to keep moving forward on a dog park.

This summer, we had a conceptual design public meeting about potential improvements to Broadmoor Park. The conceptual plans presented came from the work of a Broadmoor Park Steering Committee, which included a Councilmember, Parks, Recreation & Tree Commission representation, and representation from Ward 3 residents where the park is located. Both conceptual plans presented showed a dog park as one component of the proposed improvements. Public reaction to the dog park at that specific meeting was roughly equally divided for and against.

Shortly following the Broadmoor public meeting, we received the city-wide DirectionFinder survey results, which identified a dog park as a top desired park amenity. We also had further discussions of a potential dog park throughout our Council deliberations over the 2022 Budget and ultimately decided to earmark funds for the creation of a dog park, location TBD. At the end of September, we held a Council Work Session to discuss the current status of our outdoor park planning, and staff presented a recommendation to explore the possibility of a dog park at Streamway Park. I support staff further exploring that option and will support a dog park at Streamway if it is demonstrated that it is a better site than Broadmoor.

Arcie Rothrock

I am in full support of a dog park and according to information collected through the DirectionFinder survey, 44% of Mission residents (up from 27% in the 2015 Park Master Plan survey), expressed interest in having one as well.

However, I am not sold on the location of Broadmoor Park. In more recent discussions Streamway Park (that had been removed from the list of potential locations due to the city not actually owning the street that leads into it) has been placed back on the list of potential locations.

Streamway sets away from busy streets, homes, and businesses. Staff has been directed by council to explore and provide options with things like land preparation, lighting, safety precautions, and maintenance. I look forward to those discussions and to keeping the momentum going.

Ward 2

Lea Loudon

I love the idea of a dog park. I have a puppy named Augie. I am so excited for the opportunity to socialize with him at a local dog park. I believe Streamway park would be an excellent option for a dog park. There is natural shade and a paved walkway. It isn’t as close to single family residents as Broadmoor Park, alleviating some resident concerns.

I think the dog park should be well managed to prevent some of the negative issues prevalent at other dog parks. Perhaps making the park “members only” where dog owners must show their dog’s proof of vaccination before receiving a fob allowing entrance to the secured park. A small charge may be necessary to cover the costs of the fob and park maintenance. Plenty of doggy bags for waste and trash cans should be available for owners to clean up after their dog. The park should be divided into two parts allowing separate spaces for large and small breed dogs. A two gate system should be implemented to keep dogs from being able to easily escape. This park will require additional maintenance to keep it clean which will be an added expense to the parks and recreation budget. If we are going to do a dog park, we should do it really well.

Keith Viken

I agree it would be great for Mission to have a dog park. However, I am not sure Broadmoor Park is the best site. Broadmoor is the only park that currently has a baseball field. The park has also been used for several events as well. A dog park in Broadmoor Park can limit what event could be held at the park. One reason is I likely like the idea of the play area being built into artificial stones, not sure that is the correct language was used from the meeting. I am not sure Mission would need a whole acre for a dog park, given our size of Mission. When Streamway Park was first being built (in the ’90s), that is the location the dog park was to be located. That is a large park that could easily have a dog park in it. The issue there would be parking. Another spot might be Park on Beverly; it would have enough parking around, but it would be a smaller one.

Joe Donaway

Did not respond.

Read these candidates’ responses to questions about Mission Gateway, the 3/8-cent special sales tax, climate change and the three-story height requirement.