Donated land in Hastings could become city’s first dog park

HASTINGS, MINN. (December 28, 2013) - The below article appeared on PioneerPress.com on 12/28/2013 and was written by Nick Ferraro

Hastings has been given a 13-acre wooded parcel that could become the city's first off-leash dog park. The land, located off 10th Street east of Vermillion Street and Kennedy Elementary School, was donated this month by Intek Plastics, which also owned land directly to the south before moving to the city's industrial area a few years ago.

Intek Plastics approached the city this summer about gifting the 13.67-acre site for a possible park.  "Something like this certainly does not happen every day," said Chris Jenkins, the city's parks and recreation director. "This was a move they wanted to make. It made sense for them. It made sense for us, and the community here gets to benefit from it."

Jenkins said he floated the idea of using the land for a dog park past the parks and recreation commission recently and "they are excited about the possibility."  The city council also is open to exploring whether a pooch park would fit in town, Jenkins said. The city's 2014 budget includes $95,000 toward developing one.

If a recent city survey is any indication, dog owners support the idea. Of the 268 residents who responded to a survey this fall, 57 percent said they would visit a Hastings dog park weekly, and 45 percent said they would buy a $30 annual pass. Forty-four percent said they currently drive to a dog park outside Hastings.  Among the highest-rated elements of a potential dog park were safety for dogs and people, regular maintenance, sustainable dog-waste management and nice amenities, said Julie Flaten, assistant city administrator.

Last year, Eagan built a 6.4-acre dog park at a cost of about $45,000, which mainly covered installing fencing, gates, signs, waste containers and lights. Other off-leash areas near Hastings include parks in South St. Paul, Burnsville, Rosemount and Cottage Grove. Inver Grove Heights also is looking at adding one.

Several years ago, Hastings secured an easement with Intek Plastics to build a paved trail along the land's western edge and through the northern third of it.  A dog park most likely would be built on the 7 acres between 10th Street and the trail, which would remain intact, Jenkins said. Meanwhile, the northern half of the land, which has steep topography and dense mature trees, would be left mostly undisturbed.
"If a dog park does go in there, visitors would have a great view and a feel of kind of being out in the woods," Jenkins said.

About Intek Plastics
Intek Plastics (www.intekplastics.com) is a privately held company that engineers, extrudes and fabricates custom plastic extrusions for medium-to-large OEM’s requiring unique, high performance solutions.  Intek’s scale and sophistication allow it to serve any industry with world-class manufacturing including construction, agriculture, recreation, appliance, telecommunications, transportation, retail point-of-purchase displays, window and door manufacturing, commercial refrigeration and LED lighting.  Intek and its 200 associates create value for customers through a commitment to continuous improvement, lean manufacturing methods and investment in materials and process technology.  Founded in 1961, Intek is headquartered in Hastings, MN and also has a location in Hawthorne, NJ.

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