FHDP Celebrating!!



City Commission Voted 4-1 to Support a Phased Approach to the Dog Park

The Hays City Commission voted 4-1 tonight to allow the FHDP to pursue the park in phases. Phase 1 will cost about $33,000 and we already have $16,500! We are halfway there. I will post more about the phases at a later point–I have limited time tonight. What this means though is that we need to kick the fundraising efforts into HIGH gear and we really need your donations. Again, I will post more on that soon!

Since I have to leave town tomorrow for a conference, I will just say for tonight:

BIG thanks to those of you who came out tonight to show your support and those of you who have worked hard.

We have a lot of work ahead of us and we need to start twisting some arms!!!!

Also, please send a note to Commissioners Schwaller, Phelps, Musil, and Mellick thanking them for their support!

And finally…join us next Thursday for a fundraising planning meeting.

Letter to Commissioner Re: Phased Approach

Here is roughly what I sent the commissioners:
Thank you again for considering the FHDP’s request to build the dog park in phases.  As we presented, we really feel that building Phase I as soon as we have the funds to build it would help us spread awareness about dog parks and would help with our fundraising efforts.  I think many in the community who otherwise support the project, are reluctant to give funds to such a large project.  We believe that if the project is completed in increments, it would allow people to see where their donation is going.  In researching dog parks around Kansas, I spoke to the citizen activist who started the Great Bend Dog Park.  She indicated that she requested the city donate an enclosed baseball field to the cause early on and she would host “dog park days” where people would bring their dogs to the site to see what a dog park was like.  She indicated that this was one of the driving forces behind her fundraising efforts; people came to the park, participated, and left wanting a more permanent place for their dogs to play.  We believe that Phase 1 would have exactly the same effect.

I would like to address a couple of the concerns that were voiced at the City Commission Work Session on April 18, 2013:

Building Start Date:  First and foremost, I want to emphasize again that we would not request to start building Phase 1 until we raised the $32,800 needed for that phase—not a minute before.

Park Size and Finish:  One of the concerns expressed was that Phase 1 would look unfinished.  The park will look like a finished park.  The only indication that we will pursue other phases will be the staging area to the Phase 2 large park.  I talked with Park’s Director Jeff Boyle about delaying that until we started Phase 2 and he felt that it was best to do the staging area all at the same time.  Otherwise, the park will appear to be completed.

Ultimately, we are asking for a two-section, 7 acre park; we feel this will best serve the needs of people in Hays long-term.  However, I did some research regarding the relative sizes of dog parks in Kansas.  Of the 16 dog parks in Kansas, 8 of them are 1 1/2 acres (the size of Phase 1) or smaller; some, like those in Garden City, Hesston, El Dorado, Salina, and Topeka are about the size of a baseball diamond.  So Phase 1 will be large enough to operate for the period of time that we will need to raise the money for Phases 2 and 3.  I have attached the data for your examination.

Large Dog, Small Dog, All Dog:  It is a dog park “best practice” to have separate areas for small and large dogs because some small dogs are intimidated by larger dogs.  We planned to do this in the Hays Dog Park as a courtesy to small dog owners.  However, there is no hard and fast rule that these dogs HAVE to be separated.  As I said, we planned it this way simply to accommodate owners of timid dogs.  Most of the dog parks in Kansas have separate areas; however, 2 of the dog parks opted to make their parks “all dog” parks and allow the sizes to mingle.  I talked to the organizer of the Great Bend park and she indicated that the strategy has worked fine.  I believe that making Phase 1 and “all dog” park for a while would be a viable option in the short term.

Dog Parks in Kansas

Here is the research that I did on the relative size of dog parks in Kansas:


Garden City




Great Bend

  • Size:  1 ½- 2 acres
  • Separate area for big and small dogs:  No; I talked to the citizen who organized the park and she said that in her experience people tend to flock to the big dog area—even with little dogs—so she decided just to mix them.
  • Website:  http://www.greatbendks.net/index.aspx?NID=307




El Dorado





  • Size: 11.75 acres for two parks combined—they did not have specific info on the size of each park
  • Separate area for big and small dogs:  Yes; one park had three areas so they could reseed and block sections off
  • Website:  n/a—there are two dog parks in Wichita, Meridian and Chapin, but very little info














Johnson County:  Kill Creek


Johnson County:   Shawnee Mission




Johnson County:  Heritage Park


Johnson County:   Stoll Park



Other towns currently working of dog parks in Kansas:



Salina is currently building a new on

News Coverage of Request for Phased Approach

Here is a link to a couple articles about the FHDP’s request for a phased approach to the park.

Hays Post: http://www.hayspost.com/2013/04/19/concern-with-dog-park-plans/

Hays Daily News: http://hdnews.net/search/City041913

Upcoming Meetings and Events


As you may have seen from the coverage of the meeting with the City Commission, there were some questions about our request for a phased approach to the dog park. I am currently drafting a response to some of the city commissioner’s lingering questions, and I will send it to you when I am done. In the meantime, please contact the commissioners (especially Kent Stewart and Shaun Musil) to let them know that you think that a phased is a good idea for the following reasons: it will help the FHDP with fundraising for the larger project AND you would rather play in the dog park sooner than later.

The City Commission will make their decision this Thursday at 6:30. Please show your support by writing the commissioners and attending the meeting.

Finally, the next FHDP meeting is Thursday, May 2nd at 7:00 PM at the Community Assistance Center. Please join us.

Request for a Phased Approach

A couple of the commissioners had some concerns about a phased approach for the Hays dog park. PLEASE contact them in the next week and let them know that you think it is a good idea! Please! If they allow us to do a phased approach, I really think we could be playing in a dog park within the year!!! Here is a link to their contact info: