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Rosemount designates two areas as "off leash" for dogs

The hockey rinks at Jaycee Park and Bloomfield Park in Rosemount have been designated as seasonal, off leash dog parks. They will be open for use this year until late November when the grassy areas are converted back to skating rinks. (Kim Ukura | Independent Town Pages)

Rosemount dog owners can now set their pets free in two area parks.

The city of Rosemount has designated the hockey rinks with boards and a grass surface at Jaycee Park and Bloomfield Park in Rosemount as off leash for dogs.

The two new off leash areas will be open on a seasonal basis — this year, they'll be open until late November when the city starts to prepare the rinks for ice skating.

Adding some walkable dog parks to Rosemount neighborhoods was one of the initiatives outlined by the Rosemount City Council for 2016 and 2017, Parks and Recreation Director Dan Schultz said.

Parks and Recreation staff spoke with staff in area cities and ended up implementing a model similar to Burnsville, which also uses off-season skating rinks as dog parks.

"We think it's a cost-efficient use because we're not putting any money into it, and we were able to implement them fairly quickly," Schultz said.

Outside of skating, the rinks also aren't used for any organized activities throughout the year, making them underutilized spaces through most of the year. And their location in neighborhoods, means they are easy for residents to walk to, Schultz said.

Schultz said the city held two neighborhood meetings in each area to gather feedback and only heard positive comments from the few people who attended.

Each of the new areas has a sign outlining park hours — 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. — as well as rules for the off leash areas. Those rules are also published online at bit.ly/2ednr5G.

According to the dok park rules, no more than three dogs are allowed per person, and owners need to carry a six foot leash for each dog. Owners need to keep unleashed dogs in sight and under voice control at all times. Dogs also need to be leashed outside of the rink area.

Dogs playing in the off leash area need to be licensed, vaccinated and wearing up-to-date license tags at all times. Female dogs in heat and puppies less than four months old aren't allowed, and unattended dogs are not allowed at any time.

Owners are responsible for picking up their dog's waste and for keeping dogs from digging or barking excessively.

Owners who are interested in a larger area for dogs can drive to Dakota Woods Dog Park, a 16-acre, fenced park just east of Rosemount off County Road 46 in Empire Township.

For more information regarding the off leash areas, please call the Rosemount Parks and Recreation Department at 651-322-6000 or email to comment@ci.rosemount.mn.us.

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