Dog park, disc golf course proposed

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Parker pooches could soon stake their claim to new romping grounds.

If the sell-out crowds at the annual Barker Days canine pool party are any indication, there is demand for more dog-related amenities in the Town of Parker. The parks and recreation staff presented a proposal to council in May to build a 5-acre dog park on the north side of Pine Lane between South Parker Road and Jordan Road, and just south of E-470.

Council budgeted $250,000 this year to build the dog park. The town has been waiting to see whether a proposed development in the vicinity will be moving forward. Dennis Trapp, projects administrator for the rec department, said the development company has discussed donating 13 acres of its land even if the project does not get off the ground.

That land, in addition to 25 acres dedicated by the Cherrywood Apartments to the Town of Parker as part of development requirements, would create a 38-acre park. Five acres would be used for a dog park — with 2.5 acres being open at any given time to allow the other side to re-vegetate — and recreation director Jim Cleveland suggested that the remaining land could house an 18-hole disc golf course.

A disc golf course requires little maintenance and would add a component to the recreation system that the town does not have. The course and dog park would be adjacent to each other and be accessible by the Cherry Creek Regional Trail, which runs along the east side of the proposed park.

Many Parker dog owners visit Bayou Gulch Regional Park, a 2-acre off-leash park near Ponderosa High School, or the Glendale Farm Open Space along Interstate 25 north of Castle Rock.

Finding the appropriate spot for a dog park is a challenge because many nearby homeowners don’t want to deal with the associated odors or other impacts. The proposed park is in an ideal location because it is next to two apartment complexes, and those residents need a place to let their dogs run, Cleveland said, and it is outside of a flood plain and would not disturb habitat protected for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse. The Challenger Park Estates neighborhood is across the street on the south side of Pine Lane.

In addition to requests for a dog park, the recreation department gets regular calls about adding a public disc golf course. The sport is growing in popularity and a course would be a fun, low-cost amenity that can be created fairly easily because the existing topography on the property lends itself to such a use.

Mayor Mike Waid, who joked by saying he could envision dogs chasing the discs, suggested using Great Outdoors Colorado funds from Colorado Lottery proceeds to help fund the park. Much of the cost would come from the construction of a parking lot, although a less expensive gravel lot is an option. The remaining funding for the disc golf course could be budgeted in 2014.

Town council has not given direction to the recreation staff and it’s not clear when a decision will be made. Councilman John Diak, who has lived in Parker for 30 years, said a public disc golf course would offer something different for Parker residents who want a variety of activities.

Councilman Josh Martin asked whether the recreation staff had explored putting a nine-hole par 3 golf course on the land. Cleveland said a golf course would be more costly and require hiring specialized staff members, in addition to regular watering and maintenance. The size of the combined properties also would not provide sufficient space.