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Outagamie Co. North Dog Park closing; search for new space underway

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 4:16 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2021 at 4:47 PM CST
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OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Outagamie County dog park will be downsized soon. Its North Park is closing because of the county’s expansion of the Northwest Landfill.

Even in winter the Outagamie County Dog Park is a popular place for owners to spend time with their pup, but because of the Northwest Landfill project, the entire North Park space will be permanently closed to maintain a required 1,000 ft. border from landfill activities.

“I was really sad about it because we love coming here, we’ve come here for years,” said Samantha Giuchin, who recently learned about the change.

The North Park makes up roughly eight of the overall dog park’s 17 acres.

Giuchin and others who frequent the park believe that loss will be felt.

“I mean having that space over there was so nice because it just really broadens the area and especially during the summer when there is so many that come it spreads it out nicely,” said Giuchin.

But the bigger concern many have is the parking lot off the north side will also be taken away.

“I think it’s going to be a problem just because there’s so many times, even in the winter, when I can’t even park up here,” said Giuchin, referring to the smaller lot located next to the South and Small Dog areas which will remain open. “So all of us usually have to go down there and there’s so much more parking down there than up here.”

“The majority of the parking for the dog park is located in that northern section, so unfortunately we’ll be losing that as well,” said Outagamie County Parks Director Loren Dieck.

Dieck says the current park sits on Recycling and Solid Waste Department land. He says the department did inform them a few years ago that the north space would be affected by the landfill project.

“We didn’t anticipate it would come this quickly, but nonetheless we did have a good heads up from the landfill,” said Dieck.

He says because of that forewarning, they started a Dog Park Study to find a new, permanent location about a year-and-a-half ago. But that process was put on pause due to the pandemic.

“Now that we’re kind of getting caught up on everything we are going to ramp up the discussion once again,” said Dieck.

The overall process will take time.

“Hopefully our timeline will have us in a new location within two years, and that’s pretty aggressive considering all the things we’re going to be dealing with, with a new site,” said Dieck. “And that’s also dependent on whether we’re going to be using county owned property, or possibly purchasing property, or have someone step forward to donate property.”

He knows it’s not an ideal situation.

“Fortunately and unfortunately, our dog park is very popular, so we understand the impact this is going to have on our users,” said Dieck. “In the interim, we do ask that they maybe use some of the other facilities that can be found in the area. But we will certainly work through this as quickly as possible and we ask that everyone’s patient with us.”

“I really hope in the future they can do something like that because it really is such a huge asset to the community and to so many people,” said Giuchin. “I mean, you don’t hear one person say anything bad about this area, and just having a place to come for the dog, it’s just amazing.”

If people want to offer suggestions about a new park location or get involved with the study, they can contact the Outagamie County Parks Department at 920-832-4791.

“Everyone please remember to donate when going to the dog park, that is how our dog park is funded,” said Dieck. “If you would like to get involved, again, please reach out to us.”

The North Park will be closed permanently at sunset on March 21.

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