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Dog Park (copy)

In this file photo from May 2012, Deb Danoski of Racine soaks up the sun as she walks with her two golden retrievers Jack and Rosie in the Johnson Park Dog Run.

RACINE — A new dog park, the first within the city proper, could be open as soon as July, pending City Council approval.

Dogs aren’t technically allowed in City of Racine parks unless they are leashed or within 10 feet of a pathway. But an amended ordinance, which was sponsored by 11th District Alderman Mary Land and unanimously passed by the Public Works and Services Committee on Tuesday, would allow for the creation of dedicated dog parks within the city’s parks.

“I’m very happy to have that passed through,” Land said after Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s something we need in the City of Racine. Constituents have been asking for a dog park.”

The first dog park to be added is proposed for N. Owen Davies Park on West Boulevard, although an opening date hasn’t been set yet. The City Council will first have to approve of the ordinance change first.

The ordinance amendment adds just one sentence to the rules governing Racine’s parks, stating that dogs can be unleashed within designated, fenced and signed areas, according to City Attorney Scott Letteney.

Dog parks across the county and country

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Nationwide, dog parks have become an increasingly popular amenity in urban areas. In the U.S.’s 100 largest cities, the number of dog parks has increased from 466 to 774 over the past 10 years, a growth of more than 65 percent, according to The Trust for Public Land.

Racine has a dog park at Johnson Park, which is entirely disconnected from the rest of the city and surrounded by the Village of Caledonia.

Several county municipalities also have dog parks. Sturtevant is developing one on the north side of Broadway Drive, slightly east of its intersection with Kennsington Square Road, and immediately west of what is called the Schulte Pond or Broadway Pond. Burlington has one located on Calumet Street near the Fox River.

The Karen A. Nelson Memorial Dog Park is located in Racine County’s Quarry Lake Park, which is just barely within Mount Pleasant. Racine’s boundary begins on the opposite side of Northwestern Avenue.

Racine County’s Case Eagle Park in Rochester has a dog park and Kenosha County’s Petrifying Spring Park in Somers is home to dog runs for large and small canines.

According to The Trust for Public Land, Madison is considered one of the country’s leaders in canine-friendly public spaces. With 16 dog parks for its 424,000 residents, Madison is tied for fifth-most dog parks per capita among the country’s 100 most populated cities.

Boise Idaho has the highest concentration, with 15 dog parks for 225,400 residents. With 140 dog parks, New York City has the most total in the U.S.

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Before the JT hired him, Adam went to St. Cat's before going to Drake University. He covers homelessness and Caledonia, helps lead social media efforts, believes in the Oxford comma, and loves digital subscribers: journaltimes.com/subscribenow

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