OURAY – The City of Ouray already has more parks than most towns its size. Soon, there will be a new one, just for dogs.
When the park is completed later this spring, it will be the only place in Ouray where dogs are officially allowed to run off-leash. It will be located on an empty city lot along the edge of the Uncompahgre River at the base of Eighth Avenue.
Lot 169, Block 100 is essentially undevelopable. It is relatively small, and is restricted by a 20-foot sewer main easement running through the middle of the lot. “It is not conducive to construction of any type,” said City Administrator Patrick Rondinelli at a Ouray City Council meeting last week.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Committee (PARC) came up with the idea to turn the unusable land into a dog park. Most dog owners love to let their pets run off-leash, PARC noted, but Ouray’s strict leash law prohibits this activity on public land within city limits.
“A dog park would reduce the likelihood that dogs will be let loose in park areas where they could interfere with other park users such as bicyclists, skateboarders, and runners,” PARC stated in its executive summary of the proposal. “Providing separate areas for dog exercise segregates dog owners from other users and reduces the risk of collisions, etc. Years of experience at dog parks across the country indicate that dogs are less aggressive in open areas because they are on neutral territory and not constrained by their leashes.”
Over recent weeks, PARC members drummed up significant support for the dog park concept. At last Tuesday’s council meeting, they presented a petition signed by numerous Ouray residents, many of whom were in attendance at the meeting.
David Hines was among those who voiced support for the idea. He is co-owner of the River’s Edge Motel which abuts the south end of the property where the dog park would be developed.
“We think it’s a great thing,” Hines said. “The city’s not in the mood to sell (the land). It sits there aimlessly. We think the dog park would be a great addition to the city.”
Council agreed the dog park was a viable project, and approved it unanimously.
“It will take a lot of public education for people to know it’s there,” Councilman John Ferguson stressed, noting that many people currently let their dogs run off-leash at Fellin Park near the Hot Springs Pool, which is not a designated dog park.
Supporters will now start raising money to make the dog park a reality.
ICY SIDEWALKS ARE CAUSE FOR CONCERN
Councilman John Ferguson expressed concern about snow and ice accumulation on the sidewalks along Main Street in Ouray at last week’s Ouray City Council meeting.
City code requires that “the owner, tenant or party actually in possession of property abutting any City sidewalk shall ... be jointly and severally responsible to remove all accumulations of snow and ice from and to correct any other dangerous conditions upon or with respect to City sidewalks abutting their property.” (Ouray Municipal Code, Chapter 13, Section 15)
However, Ferguson noted, some residents and business owners follow the rules better than others. “Clearly, (snow removal) is not being done at specific locations every time it snows,” he said.
Code enforcement relating to snow and ice removal on city sidewalks is largely complaint-driven. In essence, violators can get away without following the rules until somebody tattles on them. Ferguson argued that this method of enforcement is neither fair nor effective, and that council should either strike the section of the code in question, or make an effort to consistently and uniformly enforce it.
“I think it is a definite liability when it snows; there are very specific spots on Main Street where you could fall very easily,” he said. “Our town is more vibrant now in the winter than it’s ever been. I just don’t like all the snow and ice on Main Street. It’s not fair to those who do clear it off, when right next door it’s an ice rink.”
Rondinelli clarified that the property owner, not the city, is the liable party, should an accident occur.
As one possible remedy to the problem, Ferguson suggested amending the code to make it easier to enforce, so that it pertains only to sidewalks along Main Street. No action was taken on the matter.
NEW PLANNING COMMISSION APPOINTMENTS
Lezah Saunders has replaced Michael Underwood on the Ouray Planning Commission. Underwood left that position when he was elected to the Ouray City Council last November. Council also approved the appointments of Tamara Gulde and Bud Zanett as City representatives to the Ouray County Joint Planning Commission.
This joint committee reviews items that are in Ouray County but are within the Urban Growth Management Area (UGMA) around the City of Ouray.
OURAY CLOSES IN ON ICE PARK DEAL WITH USFS
All issues pertaining to the city’s years-long effort to acquire a 24-acre parcel of United States Forest Service land in the Ouray Ice Park should be wrapped up by early February, and a closing will be scheduled with the USFS shortly thereafter, said City Manager Patrick Rondinelli in a memo to council.
Rondinelli reported that Ouray Ice Park, Inc. raised almost $6,000 to donate towards the ice park purchase at a fundraising auction during the Ouray Ice Festival earlier this month. This is in addition to key funding for the acquisition which the city recently won in the form of a $193,000 Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant.
Contact Samantha Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org