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Kansas City, Missouri, parks officials kicked an advocacy group in the teeth this week.
The foot-to-face came in the form of a response to a question from The Kansas City Star's "Watchdog," an element in the paper which is sadly unaccompanied by an image of a doberman wearing a spiked collar. A reader asked the Watchdog for an update on the logy effort by the city to create more dog parks.
Sharon K. Henry of Kansas City wanted to know if the proposed dog park at South Oak Park at East 83rd and Main "would be done before my dogs reach old age and die."
Parks official Jimmi Lossing said people needed to stand up for the park to happen. Lossing told the Watchdog that the department's policy guidelines for off-leash dog areas expect "a private advocacy group to step forward
and collaborate with the city to raise money to build and maintain any
new dog park. That has not yet happened for South Oak Park."
Left unsaid was the fact that a group of dog owners had advocated like hell for a different site in the same part of town.
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The parks department chose South Oak as the site of a future dog park because parks commissioner and freak show Aggie Stackhaus hated the idea
of a putting one at Sunnyside Park, a larger, more popular recreation area a mile west of South Oak Park.
The policy to which Lossing refers was designed in such a way to exclude Sunnyside
, the choice of a parks department-appointed task force
, from consideration. Instead, South Oak Park was determined to be the proper site, though it had no base of support.Deb Hipp
, who led the effort to put a dog park at Sunnyside, felt insulted by Lossing's comments.
"The parks department treated the one huge, dedicated advocacy group that was
willing to work with them to raise money so reprehensibly that only a fool would step up and trust the parks board and staff to be honest and decent with them in a dog park endeavor at South Oak Park," Hipp, a former Pitch
writer, says in an e-mail.
Hipp says that if the parks department is serious about wanting a private group to step up, officials should do a better job of making the need known.
They'll have speak up to be heard above Stackhaus' incessant old-ladying
. Top image via B Rosen's Flickr.