By Seth Kinker,

As the dog park in Chelsea comes up on its second birthday, the Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) met at the park off of McKinley street for their July 9 meeting.

During the meeting, they talked about the dog park and what improvements could be made as well as the trail and linear park.


The just under 2.5-acre dog park next to the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Chelsea has grown to about 100 registered users and features an agility course, freshwater, and plenty of open space.

Something that had been discussed in the community for many years, City Manager John Hanifan commended a local group for finding a site for the park. With the land underutilized and already owned by the city, costs were minimal with installing a path, gate, fencing, and signage.

An annual membership is required and although that has been debated by the community and city staff the reason boils down to safety for the dogs and their owners.

Mayor Melissa Johnson noted she was pleasantly surprised by the number of people she’s seen at the dog park that have come from out of town to utilize the park.

After the PRC walked the park to see what they liked and could be improved upon they met back up to talk about what they wanted to see in the future.

Hanifan brought up the lock system, hearing feedback about the system, but noted the challenges with an electronic system would be a factor with where the park is located. He said resources should be spent there and that would be at the top of his list.

One park rule is to fill in any holes and Johnson requested buckets of dirt at the park to make
that job easier.

New signage, a garbage can, and benches were also brought up as improvements with shade being highlighted from anecdotal community comments and members of the PRC.

“When you register, you get a map,” said Hanifan when location was brought up. “It’s not like a doggie speakeasy, we’re not trying to keep it a secret.”

“We’re also trying to drive people to the (city) website,” added Johnson. “To get good sources of information.”

With the developments, trails, and city-owned land next to the park, there is viability for more expansion in the future.

Next, the PRC got an update on the Letts Creek Linear Park project and Pierce Park Hanifan notified the commission there had been a snag with easements from McKinley to Main Street/M-52.

“The fall back position would be to ask EGL to shift the funds to the other side of M-52 and do the segment that would connect the parks past the community garden to Timbertown Park,” Hanifan told the PRC.

In Pierce Park, the circle walk and old sign has been removed as part of the first work in the park.

Survey work has been done and a design consultant is working on the new trail plan for the park. Once done, pricing and a contractor will be found with work not expected to take longer than a week to ten days.

Once the path is installed, the new gazebo and other elements will be installed. Landscaping will be completed after construction with the idea that planting will take place in the fall.

“It’ll be exciting to see our plan come to fruition,” said Johnson.



  1. Ah, but there’s no sign for the park… even though there’s a big place for a sign at the entrance. And you can’t even see the park from where the parking is! So, it is a bit like a doggie speakeasy.

    Many more folks would use it if it had a sign in front of the entrance, as well as a sign or two leading to the park. Or perhaps the other parks in town could have a small sign in the park that list other Chelsea parks.

    The improvements discussed are good ones. However, the number one problem that I have with the park (as a registered user) is that it is not AT ALL handicap friendly, particularly because the parking is a disastrous distance from the park. For many reasons, I believe making the dog park handicap accessible should be a top priority, but ESPECIALLY because our community is the home of so many senior citizens.