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Milwaukee County Parks Plans for Dog Park System

Residents for Off-leash Milwaukee Parks, Inc. (ROMP) met with new Milwaukee County Parks Director Sue Black recently to discuss future county dog-park services. “We believe dog parks will be a worthwhile project for dog enthusiasts as well as tax payers of Milwaukee County,” said Stacy Conroy, chair of the organization. “Sue Black told us she is committed to creating dog parks, and she challenged us to help her create ‘blue ribbon standard’ dog parks within the county parks system. We think her vision is exactly on target with what our organization has been working toward for the past year and a half,” Conroy said. At a county budget meeting between the County Parks and the Department of Administration on April 13, the parks department reviewed its Five Year Capital Plan. Initiatives such as dog parks being brought to the table led to monies being shifted and a tentative allocation was made for $100,000 per year for dog park development for the four years starting in 2005 through 2008. “Although this is a tentative plan, we hope the budget allocation, along with possible grant money and our own fund-raising efforts, will ensure that a multi-phase dog park plan be implemented within two to three years,” Conroy said. ROMP is developing a Memorandum of Understanding covering recommended locations/amenities and funding methods for, as well as their role in development and ongoing involvement with, the proposed dog park system. They hope to assist the parks department to create parks that model Dane County’s permit-based dog park system and development policies. The group is researching grants and corporate sponsors for dog parks. The parks department is conducting a cost analysis for park development and amenities for two of the first three designated locations, Warnimont Park in Cudahy and Anderson Lake near Whitnall Park on the Southwest corner of Milwaukee County. An environmental impact study of the Anderson Lake land and decisions around bike trail placement are projected to take several. During this time, ROMP will work with the MCPD to develop plans for the new dog parks and identify future sites. The group will continue to hold fundraising events and educate the public about the benefits of off-leash dog parks. ROMP plans on donating money to parks to make signage and other special features. You can support ROMP by becoming a paid member of the organization, making a donation, or volunteering to help with an event. To find out more, visit www.milwaukeedogparks.org or e-mail .