Ralston city hall

Ali O’Connor is pitching an idea to the City of Ralston that she believes will benefit both four-legged and two-legged friends.

O’Connor is gauging interest in constructing a dog park in Ralston and believes it falls in line with the city’s vision of revitalization.

“I’m intrigued by Ralston’s plan for refurbishing,” O’Connor said. “I’m an animal advocate and I’ve met many great people with dogs who wish that Ralston had a dog park.”

Along with pitching her ideas to other Ralston residents, O’Connor has also got the ball rolling with the city. She has met with City Administrator Dave Forrest as well as the Ralston Parks and Tree Commission.

“My idea is that I want to get more people interested before we go to the city council,” she said. “I think it will hold more water with the council if we can show that we have residents who are interested.”

O’Connor believes she has already picked out the ideal spot for the park at Wildewood Park near the volleyball courts.

“I think it’s a beautiful area with shade and walking paths and plenty of parking,” O’Connor said. “And you’re not bumping right up against homes.”

Ideally, O’Connor said they would like the dog park divided into sections for larger and smaller dogs. She would also push for a walking path around the dog park.

What could make this idea appealing to the city is that O’Connor is pushing for the park to be funded through private donations and sponsorships.

“Our hope is that we push the expense to the community through businesses and residents,” she said. “We would also pay for the maintenance of the park. Our thought would be to maybe have a system where you buy a permit to use the dog park and at the gate, have a system where you could swipe a card. We don’t want this to be a financial burden on the city.

“I know there are cases where dog parks can be abused, and I think if people were having to pay to use it, they would be more inclined to keep it nice. It would be somewhat self-policed.”

She believes the dog park would be beneficial to the city in terms of both furry foot traffic and human foot traffic.

“I think it would be great to show that we are a pet-friendly city,” she said. “I’ve talked to people who don’t live in Ralston, but they would be willing to come here for a dog park. Then you have those people who are in town and might be spending money for lunch or somewhere else in town. I believe if we build it, they will come.”

O’Connor said she is hoping to gather opinion and check the level of interest over the next couple of months and is optimistic something could be brought to the council later this summer.

“We’re very early in this process so I want to shake the tree and see if people are receptive,” she said.

Any residents wishing to give their support or opinion on the potential dog park can call Ralston City Hall at 402-331-6677.

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