Extra parks funds could pay for a second dog park in Ashland

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission is recommending using unallocated money to fund a second dog park in town plus sidewalks along Winburn Way in Lithia Park.

The Parks and Recreation Fund has approximately $470,000 in unappropriated money for the current biennium.

Parks Commissioners and Ashland City councilors will discuss the commission's recommendation during a meeting that begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

"Having a second dog park has been a commission priority for a number of years," Parks Commissioner Stefani Seffinger said.

Ashland's existing dog park is off Nevada Street on the northwest side of town.

A second dog park could be built on undeveloped park land on lower Clay Street in southeast Ashland. The area is densely populated with many low-income households that lack yards, according to the Parks Commission.

The Clay Street land had originally been slated for soccer fields, but demographics are changing and there are fewer youths in town, Seffinger said.

Commissioners said a sidewalk along Winburn Way, which winds through Lithia Park, would improve safety for pedestrians, including dog walkers.

Winburn Way sidewalks currently end near the Butler Bandshell. The sidewalk could be extended up to where Winburn Way intersects with Granite Street and ends, said Parks Director Don Robertson.

Dog owners frequently walk their pets on the side of Winburn Way because dogs are not allowed in Lithia Park itself. They must contend with drivers, bicyclists and skateboarders who come down Winburn Way, often at high rates of speed, Robertson and Seffinger said.

The Winburn Way sidewalk and second dog park would likely not be built this year.

Ashland is in the middle of a two-year budget cycle and the spending would likely take place during the next two-year cycle, if approved, Robertson said.

Reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or vlaldous@yahoo.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.

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