Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

December 13, 2012

Dog Park survey results to be shared Monday

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Knoxville — The results of the online dog park survey are scheduled to be shared at Monday's regular Knoxville City Council meeting. 

The survey was posted after a request was made by local residents to consider the installation of a dog park in Knoxville. Originally envisioned as occupying space in Auld Park, the Knoxville City Council felt City-owned land near the wastewater treatment plant, and Marion County Humane Society, may be a better location. Public input was sought regarding location, costs and other concerns.

Assistant City Manager Dylan Feik said the survey is not a statistically valid survey, but it is helpful in understanding public opinion. Feik did not share the full results, though they will be available after Monday's meeting, but he indicated that there was much support for a dog park. Many respondents felt it would be a good, quality of life amenity for Knoxville to offer prospective residents. 

Others expressed concerns about costs and ongoing expenses related to the park. They also want to ensure that the City, if it chooses to create a dog park, builds in good policies to allow the park to be preserved and enjoyed. 

Also on Monday's agenda is a discussion of what to do with nuisance properties. Though the City was able to secure a grant to tear down several of these homes, and has been active in other ways to remedy the blight, there are still areas with issues. Feik indicated that some property owners, some of whom do not live in Knoxville, have actually asked about giving the land to the City. 

Feik said City may pursue more grants in the future to remove blight, but only if the grant is worthwhile. Some grants may be restrictive, or require significant investment by the City. For instance, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which provided funding to tear down several nuisance buildings, limited the amount of money the City can receive for the properties. Properties obtained with NSP funding are also required to be used for low-income housing. 

The Knoxville City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 17, at 6:15 p.m., at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.