Buehler Park

Citizens for the Preservation of
Buehler Park

Testimony of Tom Sager, Secretary/Treasurer,
Citizens for the Preservation of Buehler Park (CPBP)
to the Rolla City Council on the proposed Buehler Park master plan

June 19, 2017

Thank you, Mayor Magdits and members of the Rolla City Council for holding this public hearing on the future of Buehler Park.

CPBP cares deeply about Buehler Park and appreciates the upgrades and attention which Buehler Park is now receiving.

Buehler Park is a very special place and is loved by many people who have fought for two decades to preserve this park for future generations.

Over the past 10 years, CPBP has

planted, mulched and watered 46 young trees;
1. some are now over 12 feet high;

2. some of the 11 dogwoods planted recently by CPBP may blosssom next spring;

3. Tupelo black gums provide exquisite Fall colors;

4. and the young oaks will replace aging trees nearing the end of their lifespan
CPBP also cleans up trash in the park regularly

After the great blizzard of 2009, CPBP helped clean up the downed limbs that littered the park,

CPBP constantly promotes BP to the public: both local residents and visitors
Most of what is contained in the proposed Buehler Park master plan before you, I find most welcome.
BP has not had running water for years. Running water will be a most welcome edition.

Real bathrooms instead of a port-a-pottie will also be welcome,

As will the addition of 1/2 acre of land and new playground equipment.

A safety fence along the border of Kingshighway and Highway 72 is an absolute necessity.

The pavilion is in need of an upgrade; and the parking lot needs repair badly.

More parking spaces will be welcome too; but only if it doesn't negatively impact the park's beautiful trees. This concerns me deeply.

I favor a walking trail around the perimeter of the park. Many, such as myself, find it difficult to exercise more actively.
I do, however, take issue with building a dog-park in Buehler Park.
Buehler Park is too small to host both a dog-park and current uses which are incompatible with a dog-park.

The presence of a dog-park would degrade the park significantly and change the entire character of the park.

A dog-park should not be placed in such close proximity to play areas for small children. Dogs leaving and entering a dog-park can and will from time to time get loose.

The proposed dog-park would destroy the meadow area which is an integral part of the park.

If not cleaned regularly, dog-parks smell bad and can create a health-hazard. The "twice a year or so" which dog-park proponents have offered to clean the proposed dog area, does not even begin to touch the need. Likely, if a dog-park is built in Buehler Park, the city will end up maintaining it.

Dogs can be noisy: Buehler Park is usually a quiet place; people often go there seeking solitude.
With this public testimony, I include an online petition with 62 signatures against building a dog-park in Buehler Park. From the 29 comments included, you will note that most, if not all, of the signers are park users and have an intimate connection to Buehler Park.

The 36 comments at the February parks open house also attest to the desire of park users not to have a dog-park in Buehler Park.

In addition, it does not appear that Rolla's dog-owners would choose Buehler Park as the location for a dog-park
Only three people chose to comment at the parks open house that they would like a dog-park in Buehler Park.

Many dog-owners would like to see a larger dog park in Rolla.

Many dog-owners would prefer a more central location.
As to the few who want to put a dog-park in Buehler Park
I feel that people who say they will fund-raise for a dog-park — but not very enthusiastically unless it is in Buehler Park do not have the best interests of the dogs, dog-owners, or Rolla's parks at heart.

I feel that people who offer to care for a dog-park but only "twice a year or so" are not very serious about taking care of a dog-park.

I feel that people who argue that a dog-park at the west end of Rolla will attract visitors to Rolla, are missing the big picture. Buehler Park already attracts many visitors to town — even without amenities like running water. If a dog-park is built in Buehler Park, Buehler Park may well attract fewer visitors. Don't mess with success. Keep Buehler Park the lovely little park that it is for all residents and visitors to the fair city of Rolla to enjoy.
Some suggestions for the Rolla dog park.
Survey Rolla dog-owners as to whether they would like a dog park and if so, what location, size, and amenities they would prefer.

Survey dog-owners as to whether they would be willing to fund-raise and how much they would be willing to contribute personally to a Rolla dog-park.

Other then the parks open house, where people were asked to vote on their three top choices for improving Rolla's park system, no serious attempt has been made to gather much of this critical data.

I feel it would be premature to make decisions about a Rolla dog-park without first gathering such data.
In sum:
There are many positive aspects of the master plan that should be adopted: running water, a safety fence, bathrooms, an additional half acre of land, and new playground equipment to mention a few.

The dog-park is not one of them. Please reject the proposal to build a dog-park in Buehler Park.
Thank you for holding this public hearing and thank you for considering my testimony.