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Thornton wants public plans for dog park

City hosts planning session for Trail Winds complex


Thornton canines will get a new city dog park beginning later this year and officials have invited dog owners in to help design it.

“It’s well used now. People love the dog park,” said Diane Van Fossen, Thornton’s capital projects and planning manager. “I think it’s very popular so we’re looking to duplicate that.”

Work on the Trail Winds Recreation Center is set to begin in May on the northwest corner of the Trail Winds Park and Open Space, south of 136th Avenue and Horizon High School.

When completed in 2019, the new center will include a swimming pool with a slide, a lazy river feature and sprays, a fitness and weight room, a climbing wall and a gymnasium with attached classrooms for aerobics and dance classes as a well as an elevated indoor running track.

It should also include a preschool and child care area with an indoor playground and classrooms designed to house programs from preschoolers through seniors.

But the new center’s location is on top of the current dog park just west of the Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center.

“There are two things we’re planning for right now, a temporary location and a permanent one,” Van Fossen said.

The current park is about two acres fenced in acres with separate areas for big dogs and smaller dogs, two shacks for dog owners to get out the wind, some benches and a gazebo in the center.

Van Fossen said crews are scheduled to begin site work and grading there mid-May.

That means Thornton’s dogs will have to make room for the new construction. During construction, a temporary area will be set up east of the current location, closer to the VMAC. That temporary area will be about an acre-and-a-half — just smaller than the current location.

“We haven’t decided where or how big the new permanent one will be,” she said. “That’s why we’re going to the public.”

The city is hosting a meeting with dog owners at 6:30 p.m. March 29 in the Horizon High School Cafeteria to talk about what they’d like to see.

Thornton resident Jerry Ho said he brings his three dogs, Tasha, Kai and Mele, to the park regularly. It’s generally busy any sunny day, but especially on weekends.

Ho said he’s happy with the dog park’s current configuration and hopes the replacement sticks with the current formula.

“I guess it’d be nice if the fence around the park was a bit higher — my dog can jump over it now, no problem,” Ho said. “The size of the park is OK. I don’t want it to get any smaller, but this is fine — as long as the dogs have some room to run, I’m fine.”

That’s the plan, Van Fossen said.

“We’re not trying to make it any bigger than it has to be at this point,” she said.

“We want it to be available to the public but we have not gotten there yet. We could increase it up to four acres but we have not determined that yet. That’ll be based on our budget and design and what people say they want in. That’ll drive how big it ends up being.”


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