South Minneapolis Dog Park Site Approved After Lengthy Debate

The following article by Nicole Norfleet has been published in the December 8, 2011 issue of the Star Tribune:

SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS DOG PARK SITE APPROVED AFTER LENGTHY DEBATE

More than a year after controversy erupted over a proposal to create an off-leash dog park in Martin Luther King Park, a south Minneapolis spot for a new dog park has finally been approved.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted Wednesday to accept the recommendation made by a citizen committee to convert part of the board’s South Side operations center parking lot in the west corner of Lyndale Farmstead Park into the off-leash dog park. The vote was seven in favor, with one member abstaining and another absent.

It would be the first off-leash park in the park system’s sixth district; every other district already has one. The board’s planning committee had already approved the plan last month.

Along with creating the dog park, the approval also directed staff to begin development of a system-wide off-leash recreation area master plan.

When the dog park was proposed for Martin Luther King Park, a large number of black residents voiced concern that it would dishonor King’s memory.