Project moves forward to open new dog park in Pratt.

Plans for a dog park in Pratt have been on the back burner for several months, but the project is now starting to move forward with a projected opening date in late spring of 2019, according to Pratt Recreation Director Bruce Pinkall.

Park Superintendent Mark Eckhoff selected the site just south of the large ball field at Sixth Street Park, where Shafer Lane curves to the west to intersect with Pine Street.

“I think it’s a good location and it’s an area that’s not being used,”

Eckhoff said. “It’s shady and there are restroom facilities available close by and a water line with easy access.”

Pinkall said that fencing for a dog park was donated anonymously last year.

City Manager Rick Eckert is enthusiastic about the dog park, seeing its potential as an economic benefit to Pratt.

“People traveling with their pets look for a place to stop and give them a chance to get out and run. While they’re here, they just might stay to eat or shop,” the city manager said. “We’re excited about it.”

Eckert said the location has easy access and parking, plus water is available nearby.

The idea of a dog park here was aired at a city council meeting last October and was enthusiastically embraced by city commissioners. Then- mayor Lucas Kumberg gave it thumbs’ up as a “great plan.”

One of the ideas discussed, Eckert said, was to have two dog parks – one for large dogs and one for small dogs – but the current plan is to have one park for all dogs.

Pinkall said that if there were problems co-mingling large and small dogs that could be addressed by putting in a divider fence.

The rules for the dog park will follow those of other dog parks in the state. Owners will need to be in attendance with their pets and pick up after them. Proof of up-to-date vaccinations will be required. Dog owners will be responsible for their pets and accept the risk of bringing them to the park. There will also be established hours for use.

Plans include a double-gated entry to the park for safety of pets. Disposal bags will be provided.

There will be benches for dog owners and a picnic table already on site will remain. The trees will not be disturbed, other than for trimming, Eckoff said.

Pinkall said that there has also been discussion of activity areas, but that would probably come later as the use of the park was evaluated.

Anyone interested in serving on a dog park committee should call Pinkall at 620-672-3261.