Archived Story

Parks and Rec may consider planning 3-acre dog run

Published 3:20pm Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cassopolis Vigilant

Things are moving and shaking with the Cass County Parks and Recreation Commission. The commission is nearing the end of its first year of operation under the reorganization of county parks, operated for years under the auspices of the Cass County Road Commission.

The cold weather season starts soon, and usually brings some snow for tubing at the Dr. T. K. Lawless Park in Newberg Township. This year there will be something new: during Christmas break at the schools, the hill can be rented out to private parties for a day or night in addition to open tubing on Saturday nights during the snowy months. Tubes are free.

And this year the anglers will be glad to hear the news that they can fish all year long at Arthur Dodd Memorial Park in Pokagon Township. These issues were approved Thursday night during a meeting of the parks commission.

Then comes spring with plans to call for possibly starting on a three-acre dog run at Lawless Park. This will be further discussed by the parks board at a work session set for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Cass County Road Commission meeting room. The work session is open to the public.

Member LeRoy Krempec, who is the road commission chairman, said there are priorities to consider such as a new entrance to Lawless park, a maintenance building, picnic table, playground equipment and bridge repairs and the nature center as part of the master plan for the park. Also to be discussed is hunting at Lawless Park, which has an open deer season starting Nov. 15 at the park. The hunting season for other animals is Oct. 1 to Jan. 1.

Wyman said he checked into costs of putting up the fence for the dog run, which would cost about $20,000 for a fence and turf grass. He said with wooden posts instead of metal, the cost would be cut to $13,000. He said the dog park would be built with volunteer help.

Also discussed was the cost of spending $13,000 to maintain three small parks owned by the department of natural resources. Wyman said the matter is currently being discussed by the DNR. Board Chairperson Judy Olson requested Wyman get a list of the small pieces of park property so a decision can be made on what to do with them. Wyman said this will be the third time this has been addressed and at some time the board will need legal counsel. Krempec agreed, saying some parcels could be expensive and some are tied up by property owners.

“There are many things to go through,” he said.

Olson noted Ontwa Township board members discussed a park on Garver Lake that has taxes in arrears. She said the township board recommended not doing anything with it.

County Treasurer Linda Irwin said an assessment was put on the property by the assessor and no one was doing anything with it. No action was taken.

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