By Brian Ojanpa
Free Press Staff Writer
ST PETER — A St. Peter dog park, four years in the making, will officially open Wednesday.
City workers have installed fencing, developed a parking area and put other finishing touches on the facility, which will be open around the clock, seven days a week and will be split into small dog/large dog areas.
Public Works Director Lew Giesking said a grand opening will be held in a week or two for a park whose anticipated spring opening was delayed by various legalities involving the site.
Giesking said the lighted 43,000-square-foot park at the intersection of Highway 99 and Rabbit Road also could be used for other recreational uses in the future, with the two-acre-plus land parcel perhaps accommodating offerings such as an archery range and hiking trail.
In the past few years dog park backers raised nearly $10,000 from individuals, businesses and in-kind support from the city.
The project got a boost last year when it received requisite enclosure fencing at a greatly reduced cost, Giesking said.
The park sits on land owned by Le Sueur County. The St. Peter City Council and Le Sueur County agreed to a $1 year lease for the county park land that abuts the city.
The land was made available to the city because it sits in a floodplain and is unsuitable for commercial or residential development.
Previous potential sites for an in-city dog park were ruled out. One site was used to build the city’s new wastewater treatment plant; the other site adjacent to the Treaty Site History Center was rejected due to parking concerns.
Fundraising for the park began in 2008 under the auspices of PAWS — Providing Animals With Shelter — a consortium of residents and Gustavus Adolphus College students.