South St. Paul opened its first off-leach dog park last month. The 6.3 acre site along the Mississippi River used to be a demolition landfill. The dog park is the first in northern Dakota County.
The park itself is part of South St. Paul
's long-term plan to transform the former 87-acre Port Crosby industrial landfill into a recreational area which has been named Kaposia Landing. The city purchased the former landfill for $1 million in 1999 and secured $4.5 million from the Legislature between 2004 and 2006 to prepare the area. Cleanup involved clearing trees and brush and then covering all 70 acres with 526,000 cubic yards of fill dirt.
As a result, the park is wide open and ideal for dogs that need to run. The park is enclosed by a 4-foot fence and has two shelters and two disposal stations for dog waste. Another $6 million would be needed to carry out South St. Paul's long-term vision for Kaposia Landing, which include plans for ball fields, volleyball and bocce ball courts, an outdoor performing arts area, picnic areas and river overlooks
The City of South St. Paul is asking dog owners to buy a $20 annual membership that will go toward maintenance and help officials compile a database of dog owners. Eventually, the database could be used as a way to notify owners of news and events at the park.
The Twin Cities
is generally a very dog friendly area. The City of St. Paul has one dog park. Minneapolis has seven, including one that opened a few weeks ago in downtown. However, dog owners would like to see more. Since they are relatively new, it will take some time for them to be built. But all that is changing. In 2006, there were about 700 dog parks in the U.S.; now there are close to 3,000. During August alone, 98 dog parks opened or were approved to be built.