Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wachtel's crazy idea

Yesterday afternoon I met with Tim Wachtel, the landscape architect at SPAR. He showed me numerous "concept" plans that have been made for recreation along the red river trail, including "Hamel's Park Beach," and C. Bickham Dickson Park (that includes a dog "training" area). Wow, talk about a WISH LIST. In your dreams, we have a swimming pool, piers, restrooms, concession stands, walk-ways, mowed open space, groomed beach, acres of bike riding and off-road vehichles, the whole kit-n-kaboodle (but nothing for the poodle).

I was interested in determining how much feet of fence we would need in order to surround the proposed dog park area at Hamel's. On his AutoCad, he showed me that the 1.7 acre site would roughly be about 187' X 376' worth of fence. According to some calculations and internet research, cost for this fence would be around $14,000. More or less, I like to generally say. This area is just north of the parking lot, there is a short loop trail for walking the dogs, and just below the steep hill that is what some people believe to be an earthen fort.

We would also need to get a water line out there, requiring digging across or along the parkway.

THEN he showed me an overhead, google earth image of Veterans' Park and called this his "Crazy idea." He said the magic words.

NOW THIS SPOT IS AMAZING: Big, open, spacious, trees, lake, trail, parking, close to the river trail, and plenty of drug dealers- the perfect requirements for a dog park.

With this site, the plan would call for some trail clearing, and tree-clearing for another entrance/exit at the Veterans' hospital.

I am headed out of town for a long weekend, but when I return Kathryn/ and I are going to the park to take pictures and report back to you. In the meantime, maybe you and your dog and friends will want to go check it out this weekend.

After the meeting with Wachtel, I met Kathryn at J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Visitors Center to watch a Army Corps of Engineers film about the history of the mighty Red River.

I would have to be some sort of idiot to keep pushing for a fence along the beach at Hamel's. The way the river moves, and has changed course throughout the years, and the sandy soil along the banks may lead to maintenance problems with a fence/gate. The original dog park thought was a fence-less, leash-free dog park. However, a number of people who support the dog park idea are pushing for a fence. So, maybe Hamel Memorial Dog Park could be the 2nd or 3rd dog park in Shreveport. But we need to get the first one right.

What do YOU think? You have an idea for a location for a dog park, besides the moon?

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