Community

Work on Hiawatha dog park begins

Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette

Cosmo, an Australian shepherd, runs after catching a Frisbee thrown by his owner Scott Albright of Iowa City, Iowa, at Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park in Iowa City in 2017. The city of Hiawatha has begun preparing a dog park of its own, and hopes to have it open by spring of 2020.
Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette Cosmo, an Australian shepherd, runs after catching a Frisbee thrown by his owner Scott Albright of Iowa City, Iowa, at Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park in Iowa City in 2017. The city of Hiawatha has begun preparing a dog park of its own, and hopes to have it open by spring of 2020.

HIAWATHA — Crews are busy clearing trees to make room for all the good boys and girls at Hiawatha’s soon-to-be dog park.

The city is working with the Linn County Chainsaw Response Team and a local arborist to remove trees on the property, which is located near the Cedar Valley Trail Head off Boyson Road. Parks and recreation staff hope to open the new dog park in the spring of 2020.

“Once removal is complete we will be working on grading and seeding. There are quite a few steps left before we can let our furry friends enjoy,” said Kelly Willadsen, Hiawatha Parks and Recreation director.

The ruffly two-acre park will be Hiawatha’s first dog park and will feature both a small dog and a large dog area. Benches, a few play structures and a pedestrian bridge will complete the park

“It is a unique area in comparison to other dog parks that are wide open. This land area has plenty of shade and all natural elements,” Willadsen said.

Park rules and a cost structure have yet to be finalized, Willadsen said.

The idea originated in 2016 after a resident survey showed a dog park was the top amenity wanted in the city. When Dave Wright, an owner of a nearby car dealership, heard that result, he approached the city about developing a park.

Currently, the closest major dog park for Hiawatha residents is K-9 Acres Off-Leash Area in Marion.

The city partnered with Linn County Conservation and Dave Wright Subaru on the project, which is likely to cost just over $100,000.

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Hiawatha’s furry friends aren’t the only ones set to receive a new dog park in 2020. North Liberty residents have undergone a yearslong effort to develop a dog park in their town, which got a boost when the city purchased land for it last year.

The Johnson County Dog Park Action Committee still is working to raise money to support that project.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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