Oregon and Brooklyn canines will soon have a place to play fetch, roll around in the grass and run free without a leash – and their human counterparts can come too, of course.

At the next Dane County Board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 5, a $48,934 contract with KL Engineering for design and architectural work on an off leash dog park facility at Anderson Farm County Park, 914 Union Road, will be up for a vote. The Dane County Park Commission recommended the contract to the board Aug. 28.

It would be the eighth dog park of its kind to be constructed in Dane County, according to a county news release, with parks currently at Badger Prairie, Capital Springs Recreation Area, Indian Lake, Prairie Moraine, Token Creek, Viking and Yahara Heights parks. Permits are required, and are valid at all parks.

“Dane County currently is considered a national leader in this area,” the release states.

County senior landscape architect Chris James told the Observer the recommendation for a park in the Oregon-Brooklyn region is around 10 years old, and part of the Dane County Open Space Plan, which is updated every five years. The county identified a need in the area, he said, as it has continuously sought to put dog park facilities in major population centers, keeping them evenly dispersed.

James said when Anderson Farm County Park “came online it just seemed like a good fit.”

A dog park is a part of the Anderson Farm County Park master plan, which the county finalized back in 2014. James said the KL Engineering contract was selected among four design requests for proposal.

County parks facility planner Alex DeSmitt told the Observer if the board awards the contract to KL Engineering, the next step is to put the actual design plans together, with construction anticipated to start this fall and conclude by spring 2021.

The park would be 35 acres and feature woodland areas, agricultural fields and a small prairie that was planted in 2016. It will also offer a 3.5 acre park for small dogs, though the definition for what merits “small” is still being discussed, James said. DeSmitt said that part of the park would also benefit older and disabled dogs.

The design plans also include a “three quarters of a mile” paved trail, parking lot, stormwater facilities, shade sails and a double fence. DeSmitt said the shade sails – consisting of four poles with a canvas roof – would be important for dogs to keep cool during the summertime.

The double fence would provide owners with a buffer zone to take dogs off their leashes without worrying about them running off before entering the actual park space, he said. It would have a two gate system, where park users would open it on the parking lot side.

Roe Parker, president of Anderson Park Friends, Inc. told the Observer the trail would likely be used for biking and provide as an access point for Oregon and Brooklyn residents to bring their canines. He said the space is across the street from the Oregon Area Food Pantry Garden, 805 Union Road. Parker said the bike path will be 10 feet wide and consist of asphalt.

“It (would) hook up with South Main Street and go through the Arthur Sholts Memorial Woods parallel to Union Road,” he said. “It (would then go) through the open fields parallel to Union Road down to the dog park.”

Parker said around 20 Anderson Park Friends, Inc. volunteers helped create the patch of prairie grasses.

“We will have a big role in helping maintain that,” he said.

Even though the goal is to conclude park construction by spring 2021, Parker said that is contingent upon Mother Nature and how well the prairie grasses fare. The new plants wouldn’t survive heavy foot traffic well, he said.

Overall, Parker said the dog park would offer canines an area to roam free, and a space for their humans to hike, walk and “meet their neighbors.”

“We anticipate this being a popular destination,” Parker said.

Emilie Heidemann joined Unified Newspaper Group in 2018, where she serves as the community and business editor for four publications, as well as a quarterly magazine. Emilie covers the Village of Oregon and Fitchburg community beat.