PAYETTE — First it was planned for the National Guard Armory grounds.
Then the site was changed to Centennial Park.
Centennial Park didn’t work out either, though, so everyone eventually settled on a new location, Kiwanis Park.
Until Kiwanis Park, too, was deemed unworkable.
The idea of providing a fenced play area for off-leash dogs has been debated and approved multiple times by the Payette City Council in recent years, but somehow it has always had to remain a concept unimplemented.
On July 1, the dog park was on city councilors’ plate yet again, only this time it appeared they were on the verge of approving a siting option that they won’t have to later undo.
Thanks to a very recent written response from the State of Idaho Military Division (IMD), Payette officials now have permission to fence the 1.01-acre piece of ground the IMD calls the “Payette Readiness Center Land,” but which has a rock sign bearing the name Hanigan Park.
Yes, the location is the very same Armory grounds where the city originally intended to place the dog park.
In a brief interview on Friday, Mayor Jeff Williams confirmed that fencing materials the city already has on hand for constructing a dog park were purchased several years ago to fit at the Armory site. Now that the city also has written permission — provided in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) — Williams foresees no further obstacles to finally following through with construction.
The dog park was listed as an action item on Monday’s council agenda and Williams believed the council would approve the latest siting change, which should, of course, also be the last.
Williams said the city sought the IMD’s permission to proceed several years ago, but the state military division didn’t clearly respond, causing the project to languish despite the acquisition of materials.
Last fall, Vonnie Paul, at that time a member of the City Council, urged the city government to find an alternative site for the dog park. Centennial Park emerged as the early favorite, even to the point of eliciting a site visit in December by councilors and the mayor — an official council meeting — but objections from neighboring residents sank the idea.
In January, the council warmly received Parks and Street Supervisor Jamie Couch’s suggestion to put the dog park near the southwest corner of Kiwanis Park. Officials indicated at the time that the dog play area’s construction could commence within a few months, but then spring wore on and out and gave way to summer, and the dog park still wasn’t here.
The Kiwanis Park location wasn’t entirely free of park user conflict as the southwest corner has long been popular for family events. The city sells space reservations.
Although the Armory grounds and equipment, also known as Hanigan Park, are owned by IMD, they have been continuously tended over the years by city parks department employees. The recently received MOU calls for the city to continue performing “routine grounds maintenance.”