Task force recommends Sunnyside Park for off-leash dog park; Commissioner Stackhaus’ eyebrows beg to differ

Although Commissioner Aggie Stackhaus’ facial expressions nearly stole the show, dogs were the focus of this afternoon’s meeting of the Kansas City Parks and Recreation’s Board of Commissioners.

Task force chairman Mel Solomon presented the Dog Park Task Force Advisory Committee’s report, saying, “More dog parks will add significant viability to our parks system.”  Among their findings: that a dog park should be installed at Sunnyside Park in Waldo.

The debate over this issue at Sunnyside Park is what sparked the creation of the task force in the first place, as detailed in this week’s feature story. The task force’s 15 members were appointed by the parks board commissioners in 2007 and first met in March 2008. Deb Hipp of WOOF (Well-Organized Off-leash Friends) says the report offers some vindication for her group of volunteers.

“We hope that the parks board will follow the recommendations of the task force that they formed,” Hipp says. “We’ve always known that Sunnyside was the best location for a dog park in south Kansas City, and now the task force agrees.”
(Hipp is a former Pitch staff writer.)

The meeting wasn’t as exciting as several television reporters

probably anticipated

— cameras nearly outnumbered the people testifying

for or against dog parks during the public comment period.

But Stackhaus, seated next to Parks

Board President John Fierro, made no secret of where her affections lay.

When a dog park opponent got up to speak, Stackhaus smiled and nodded approvingly.

When WOOF supporters took their turns at the lectern, Stackhaus busied herself by scribbling notes, puffing out her cheeks with audible sighs, exchanging meaningful glances with Fierro and aiming tortured expressions at the audience. Stackhaus comes with her own closed captioning. She is the parks board’s Marcel Marceau.

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