“So you’re not going to take offense if I say that the park is going to the dogs,” said Alderman Judy Bateman (Ward 2) at the city’s Board of Aldermen work session on July 23.
“Love it,” said Vicki Phillips, the city’s director of park operations.
Going to the dogs? Perhaps not, given the number of amenities for humans at 370 Lakeside Park, including a 140-acre lake. But the dog park is noteworthy as it is St. Peters’ first facility for unleashed dogs. City officials are hoping that the park, to be known as St. Peters Rotary Dog Park, will be a howling success.
Puns aside, Phillips told the aldermen that the ribbon-cutting for the new park is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Aug. 12 and that she hopes local officials as well as residents will attend.
The dog park is located on about a 2-acre site near the boat dock on the lake.
But using the dog park won’t be as easy as letting Fido loose to run wild.
“This is dog members only,” Phillips said. “People’s dogs will have to have a membership at the park.”
Phillips said the city will begin taking applicants for memberships from owners starting Aug. 1. Applications can be filed online at www.stpetersmo.net or can be obtained or handed in at the RV park office at 370 Lakeside Park. For more information, interested dog owners can call (636) 477-6600 or (636) 278-2244. The applications will take about two weeks to process.
All applicants will go through a screening process and owners must provide proof of rabies shots and the animal being spayed or neutered. The city will do a background check on the dog’s record with the city’s animal control office.
“You do have to have a lot of records,” Phillips said. “It’s a pretty tough system to deceive.”
A membership identification card will be issued with the animal’s picture along with a colored tag that has to be worn by the dog when it uses the park. The tags will be color coded based on the animal’s size.
The dog park will be divided by fences with large dogs over 25 pounds able to use a 1.5-acre portion of the park, and smaller dogs less than 25 pounds able to use a .75-acre portion. Phillips said animal control officials say larger dogs should not be with smaller animals. Larger dogs may injure smaller animals just by playing with them, she said.
A pavilion at the park will be divided in the middle by a fence between small and larger dogs, Phillips said. A “bullpen” for animals entering the park can be opened via a code given to pet owners when their animal is registered for the dog park. The bullpen area will have a small water hydrant for cleaning animals should the animals get dirty while playing.
The park also will have shade, a drinking fountain, dog waste bags, agility training equipment and eventually a gated entrance to the larger park’s lake. The lake entrance will not be available when the dog park opens.
The fees for using the park are $25 annually for residents with one dog and $10 for each additional dog up to three at the same address. For seniors, age 62 and older, the first dog will be $25 annually with the second or third animal free for animals at the same address. This year only, memberships will be half price for residents – $12.50 – because the park is opening halfway through the year.
Non-residents will be charged annual memberships of $50 for one animal and $15 each for up to two additional animals.