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New Dog Park Coming Soon?

Tom Giffey, photos by Brianna Meicher

Dogs need exercise too – even in the dog days of summer – and that’s where dog parks come in. Eau Claire’s off-lease recreation area, also known as the Otter Creek Dog Park, provides pooches with nine acres in which to chase their own (and each other’s) tails while free of their owners’ restrictive leashes. And the city has plans to add a second dog park in the next couple of years.

Phil Fieber, Eau Claire’s director of parks, recreation, and forestry, says the city is working with the state Department of Transportation to acquire a plot of land along the Chippewa River south of Interstate 94 across from the wastewater treatment plant (which is at the end of Ferry Street).

The roughly 20-acre area is subject to spring flooding, “but the rest of the year it’s a fantastic area for dogs who like to have access to water,” Fieber says. The city hopes to conclude negotiations this year – the DOT wants to retain an easement on the property so it can repair or replace nearby I-94 bridges – and get to work on planning and design next year. The project would also include the construction of a parking lot and the improvement of a nearby boat landing.

Construction could start in 2016 and would have to be coordinated with the remodeling of the wastewater plant, Fieber adds. That may seem like the near future for us humans, but remember 2016 is 14 years away in dog years.