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Worthington considers adding puppy park

WORTHINGTON -- In the city of parks, Worthington does not have a place strictly for the dogs.

That's something Worthington resident Marla Wolterstorff, with the help of some city leaders, hopes to change. What this town needs, says she, is a "puppy park."

"Hopefully it'll be used by people walking their dogs and not cleaning after themselves now," said Wolterstorff, who foresees a pooch park for "exercising your dog, socializing your dog -- just exercising them and knowing they're in a safe place; they can't get out."

The idea has caught the attention of the City of Worthington Parks Department and others who see merit in creating a doggie haven. On Monday, Worthington Public Works Director Jim Laffrenzen will appear before the City Council to ask for authorization to establish a temporary park across the street from Sunset Park, on the northwest corner of West Shore Drive.

"They're becoming pretty popular," said Laffrenzen, who has studied puppy parks in Sioux Falls, S.D., and reported that they're "not fancy," but are being used as safe areas to let dogs run loose.

Wolterstorff said Sioux Falls has two puppy parks, and there is another in Mankato. Sioux Falls, she said, has a park that contains benches and even a fire hydrant in the center. People have carried balls and Frisbees to the area and left them there. Plastic bag containers are provided, plus five-gallon buckets for water.

"Basically, it's just an area where they can run and play with other dogs," Wolterstorff said.

Lorenzen explained that if a temporary park can be provided in Worthington, it may give way to a permanent doggie park location. The Sioux Falls park, he said, was "well-maintained," and there wasn't a problem with feces.

That's an issue that will be closely watched should Worthington have its own puppy place.

"I think a big concern we have is keeping the area clean and following the rules," Lorenzen said.

In the meantime, Wolterstorff is looking for volunteers to assist in creating the park. Persons seeking more information can call her at 372-7963.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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