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Dog park suggested in North Huntingdon

October 31, 2018 GMT

North Huntingdon’s Oak Hollow Park could go to the dogs, literally.

In an online survey and through public comment at meetings, residents proposed a dog park, splash park and additional walking trails for the 127-acre park off Morris Avenue.

Richard P. Rauso, a Trafford landscape architect, has since worked with Daniel Miller, the township’s parks and recreation director, to develop a master plan for the park as well as the 18-acre Lions Park off Macarthur Drive.

Rauso and Miller said they hope to have cost estimates to present in November.

Oak Hollow Park is the largest developed park in the township. It has pavilions, a fishing pond, basketball court, swingsets, jungle gyms, climbing tubes and soccer fields. Survey results show that respondents liked the playground, trails, pavilion and Oak Hollow’s openness, but they did not like the restrooms and some were not impressed by the playground, Rauso said.

Rauso presented commissioners with a conceptual plan with a dog park and adjacent parking lot atop a hill at Oak Hollow. The dog park would be divided into two sections for large dogs and small dogs -- each three acres in size, Rauso said. A 150-space parking lot would be created for those using the dog parks.

A baseball field is proposed for a site near the existing soccer field and a performance pavilion is suggested. A restroom would be added near the existing soccer fields, Rauso said.

A splash park could be built near the existing playground and an expanded parking lot with handicapped-accessible spaces could be added, Rauso said.

A trail system to connect the soccer fields and ballfields and to loop around the park also is recommended.

Miller said they were not presenting a plan to create a Disney World-style amusement park, but a proposal with “practical opportunities for usage of the park.”

Unlike Oak Hollow, which is considered a municipal-wide park, Lions Park is more of a neighborhood park, with limited parking, Rauso said.

The site has few amenities and is flood prone, which limits what can be done there.

The suggestions for Lions Park include adding parking for a new or expanded playground, a walking path atop the dam and restrooms, Rauso said. A new playground could be relocated above the 100-year flood plain and the hill at the site provides an area for a hillside slide or climbing net, he added.

Because of the smaller size of Lions Park, Rauso said a dog park would “overload” that site.

Commissioner Brian Blasko said he would like to see handicapped-accessible swings at the site.

Mike Turley, the township’s assistant manager, said that elements of the master plan could be delayed or eliminated.

North Huntingdon would not qualify for any recreation grants for the project until 2020. The township must pay for the plans in order to qualify for the grants.