Interest remains, but plans change for Lisbon dog park

LISBON –Village council is still interested in developing a dog park in town, just not on South Jefferson Street.

Two months after passing a resolution expressing its interest in developing a dog park on property offered for free by the Columbiana County Park District, council voted at Tuesday’s meeting to withdraw its support after several concerns were raised.

The property is located on South Jefferson Street where the park district garage is located, with the park board offering the parcel located between the garage and the Middle Fork of the Little Beaver Creek. Village parks supervisor Dana Blackurn told council in December the park board was willing to provide the location for free but it wanted council to adopt a resolution so they could begin drafting an agreement for the parties to sign.

Council member Peter Wilson, who works part-time for the park district, asked about the status of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for use of the property as a dog park, noting the attorney assisting the park board is still waiting to be contacted by village officials to work out the details.

Wilson, who took office in January, was dismayed by the lack of action by the village. “If we’re changing our mind, fine, but we need to change our vote,” he said, noting a local Boy Scout is waiting to begin working on the dog park as an Eagle Scout project.

Village fiscal officer Tracey Wonner said it was her understanding the park board was to draft an MOU for council to consider, and Mayor Joseph Morenz agreed, saying the MOU would spell out what was expected of the village, but he has yet to hear back from the park board.

When told that the one of the proposed terms of the MOU would require the village mow and maintain the dog park, council member Jeff Snyder balked, saying that will make more work for an already overburdened street department and cost the village money. Morenz said he is also concerned about security issues given the property’s location

Wilson pressed council to act, one way or the other, since it had already given its word. “I think if we make a decision we need to follow through” or withdraw from the partnership, he said.

Snyder finally made a motion to rescind the resolution adopted in December, with council voting 5-0 to do so. Wilson abstained from the vote.

Council now could perhaps return to its original plan to develop a dog park either at Willow Grove Park or at the Cedar Street park. Council did not indicate which option it preferred, but they appeared to be favoring the Willow Grove location before the park district offered its property.