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May 2, 2013

New Albany dog park still on the table

Council could be asked to consider by end of summer

NEW ALBANY —

The proposal to add a dog park in New Albany may have some traction, as public officials including Mayor Jeff Gahan are supporting the idea. 

Last year, a group of local residents began meeting to discuss what it would take to install a park where canine owners could walk their dogs. 

Plans are still preliminary and several potential locations are being considered, but Gahan said Wednesday the city council could be asked to weigh in on building a dog park by the end of the summer. 

“We’ve seen a number of models in other communities that have actually ended up being a destination point,” Gahan said of dog parks. 

Jeffersonville opened a dog park last year, and there are similar facilities in Louisville. 

As far as a location, Gahan would only say there are multiple options. 

“Once we make the decision that we desire to have one, then I think we’ll find the right place,” he said. 

Council President Pat McLaughlin suggested utilizing an existing park for a dog-walking facility. 

He said the idea of installing a dog park was supported by the former New Albany-Floyd County Parks Department, and he anticipates it would be backed by the new municipal parks system. 

If the demand is there for a dog park, then it’s something the city should consider, McLaughlin continued. 

“I’d be open to it if the administration is, and if the funding is applicable and available,” he said. 

David Hall, director of the New Albany-Floyd County Animal Shelter, said dog parks do require certain features and are more suitable for certain locations. 

“Everybody has their eye out, it’s just a matter of seeing where they want to go with it,” Hall said. 

The process of deciding whether to construct a park or not and where that facility will be located will involve more than just the administration, Gahan said. 

“It will be a great topic for the city council, as well as the animal shelter,” he said. 

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