Southwest Mpls dog park that was originally supposed to cost $45,000 now costs $215,000

Dog parks are nice, but when are they just too expensive?
Dog parks are nice, but when are they just too expensive?

The Minneapolis Park Board thought it had found a suitable site for a $45,000 southwest Minneapolis dog park back in 2010 -- Martin Luther King Park in Kingfield. But folks became uneasy about the symbolism of unleashed canines running around a park named after the leader of a movement in which protesters were notoriously attacked by dogs, and after much acrimony, the plan was scrapped.

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More than two years later, the Park Board has finally received bids on a contract to build a small dog park on what is now a piece of a parking lot near a stormwater pond in Lyndale Farmstead Park, a project that's the successor to the failed MLK Park plan. But here's the catch -- the total cost of $215,000 is more than four times what the Park Board originally hoped to spend.

As the Southwest Journal reports, "The new dog park will cost more to build than all five of the existing Park Board-funded dog parks in Minneapolis combined." It's so expensive that $25,000 in unused funds from the 35W bridge memorial fund will have to be used.

One factor driving up the project's cost is the need, for drainage reasons, to use an expensive crushed granite material instead of spreading less costly woodchips, according to the Journal.

Park Board Commissioner Brad Bourn argues the new and more expensive dog park is still a sound investment since permit revenue will make it a moneymaker over time, but others, including citizens advisory committee member Matt Perry, say enough might be enough.

"I remember when they presented us with the original number [$126,000 for a Lyndale Farmstead dog park], and I remember thinking to myself, with the drainage issues, I figured the cost would be north of $175,000. I never dreamt it would be north of $200,000," Perry told the Journal.

He added: "There should be some triggers where you look at the costs for what was budgeted, what was projected, and what they have become, and really ask yourself, is it time to review the decision? Does it make sense to revisit the decision?"

The Park Board will consider the $215,000 proposal during a meeting tomorrow.

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