A new park coming to Waterloo will likely get some tails wagging.
Plans are in the works to build a facility to replace the Maunesha River Dog Park since the Waterloo Parks Committee approved the new space for K9s to stretch their legs and socialize with their peers.
As the city closed the Maunesha River Dog Park to make room for the sewer plant expansion earlier this month, officials found a new site three times the size to take its place, said Gabe Haberkorn, the city’s parks coordinator.
The Youker Park facility will be located where the mill pond was once located, just about 100 yards south of the former facility, and will be 64,000 square feet, Haberkorn said. It will also include an area for small dogs only.
Youker Park is on Mill Street, across the river from city hall’s backyard.
The parks committee has planned for the park to be developed in three phases, with the first including a fence and waste stations. Parking is available on Mill Street. One of the biggest complaints about the dog park had been about the deteriorating chain link fence, Haberkorn said.
The hope is to have the fence installed in April, so that residents and their pets have a local park again, but supply chain issues could cause a delay, he added.
Phase two will include more amenities, including dog playstations, a shade area with a covered shelter, along with benches for visitors. The playstations will allow dog owners to practice agility with their pets, Haberkorn said.
Phase 3 will be a riverwalk to connect the dog park, Fireman’s Park and Youker Park to the downtown. A parking lot is planned at Riverside Park, as well, Haberkorn said.
The city is raising funds for the project, and the amount raised will determine what amenities can be included. Haberkorn said already $1,700 has been donated. A kiosk is planned at the entrance to display the names of all donors who contribute $50 or more. Donations can also be made in memory of pets or loved ones.
The first phase is expected to cost approximately $50,000, with the second phase estimated to be about the same. The city plans to apply for grants to fund the project, as well.
Park committee members hope the improvements will bring more dogs and their owners to the area.
“When that project is done, there will the little kiosk and the riverwalk down by that parking lot. You’ll be able to walk straight from downtown Waterloo to that park and right down to Fireman’s Park,” he said. “Connected to downtown Waterloo, I think the traffic should pick up.”