Southwest Mpls dog park that was originally supposed to cost $45,000 now costs $215,000

dogs playing.jpg
Dog parks are nice, but when are they just too expensive?
The Minneapolis Park Board thought it had found a suitable site for a $45,000 southwest Minneapolis dog park back in 2010 -- Martin Luther King Park in Kingfield. But folks became uneasy about the symbolism of unleashed canines running around a park named after the leader of a movement in which protesters were notoriously attacked by dogs, and after much acrimony, the plan was scrapped.

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More than two years later, the Park Board has finally received bids on a contract to build a small dog park on what is now a piece of a parking lot near a stormwater pond in Lyndale Farmstead Park, a project that's the successor to the failed MLK Park plan. But here's the catch -- the total cost of $215,000 is more than four times what the Park Board originally hoped to spend.

As the Southwest Journal reports, "The new dog park will cost more to build than all five of the existing Park Board-funded dog parks in Minneapolis combined." It's so expensive that $25,000 in unused funds from the 35W bridge memorial fund will have to be used.

One factor driving up the project's cost is the need, for drainage reasons, to use an expensive crushed granite material instead of spreading less costly woodchips, according to the Journal.

Park Board Commissioner Brad Bourn argues the new and more expensive dog park is still a sound investment since permit revenue will make it a moneymaker over time, but others, including citizens advisory committee member Matt Perry, say enough might be enough.

"I remember when they presented us with the original number [$126,000 for a Lyndale Farmstead dog park], and I remember thinking to myself, with the drainage issues, I figured the cost would be north of $175,000. I never dreamt it would be north of $200,000," Perry told the Journal.

He added: "There should be some triggers where you look at the costs for what was budgeted, what was projected, and what they have become, and really ask yourself, is it time to review the decision? Does it make sense to revisit the decision?"

The Park Board will consider the $215,000 proposal during a meeting tomorrow.


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5 comments
swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

...And there's still nothing on the strip of land between the 35W sound wall and MLK Park proper.  Except probably some dog poo from scofflaws.

TheTruth
TheTruth

Let's not forget the $35,000 that went to sprucing up the MLK memorial at MLK park, something the "community" had let go to seed until some homeowners in the neighborhood wanted to add a dog park. And all you have to do is show up at the park board meeting and call the board members racists. 

Ray Minneapolis
Ray Minneapolis

Who is determining this budget? It's a chain link fence, wood chips and some signage. FIRE the project director. And WHO, please tell SPENT the 45 GRAND already?? Pretty sure I could build a Dog Park from Home Depo supplies for less then 8k.

dbrauer
dbrauer

I was on the task force with Matt. It would've been awesome (and cheaper) to built it at MLK, but you know ... racial politics. No one else wanted to give up park space (there's an "every blade of grass is precious" thing in Minneapolis), so in effect, new space neeed to be created. The price of that? More money spent. But also more parkland!

 

No issue with how Aaron presented the story, but I'd add some additional context. Two playgrounds at Lake Harriet are going in for $1.057 million. You can argue kids > dogs but there's a substantial subset of people who feel differently.

 

Also, Commissioner Bourne's point about dog license fees is sound. If I recall correctly, the Park Board grosses $200,000+ per year and spends a pittance on dog park maintenance. So it's already a profit center. By dipping into unused funds now, the Park Board has chosen to pay it off up-front, but they could just as easily have financed it over time with money to spare. (Wouldn't be as good a story, which is why gov't finances and so rarely pays for things up front.)

 

The hope is that a dog park in SW Mpls, where there's none but lots of $$, will be an amenity that brings in more fees. $200K ain't nothing, but users pay and once we get past the dogged optics, all this will be forgotten. I hope.

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