Parks & Playgrounds Q&A

Q: Have you seen the need for a separate

small dog area in dog parks?

A: No. I have seen several dog parks with

separate small dog areas included and

have never seen a dog in them, but I have

seen small dogs in the big dog areas at

these same dog parks.

This is not to say

that a small dog area is never used, but

most dog owners (big or small) want

their dogs to socialize with other dogs as

well as socializing themselves with other


If the dogs and people are not in

the small dog area the small dogs for the

most part will not be there either.

Randy Burkhardt

Q: Is there a more economical way to

provide bags to pick up dog waste?

A: Yes. There are several designs of bag

dispensers out there now that utilize

PVC pipe and grocery bags that are provided

by the users. I feel that this will

work as a supplement to the commercial

bags that we provide in our dog parks,

but we would not want to rely solely on

the users to provide the bags.

Our maintenance

and ranger staff check the bags

daily and refill the commercial dispensing


If the users were relied upon

solely to furnish the bags there would be

no way to monitor if there was a need for

more bags, and if no bags are present

users cannot be expected to clean up

their dog’s waste.

Randy Burkhardt

Q: Is there a way to keep the turf in good

condition in dog parks that are used all

day long?

A: Yes. We found that by thinking of the

dog park as a sports field and treating

them as such we have been able to keep

our turf in reasonably good condition.

This includes installing irrigated blue

grass turf and maintaining as we would

any of our sports fields.

We also split our

dog parks in to two sides, only having

one side open at a time and rotating from

one side to the other. This allows our

maintenance staff to work on getting one

side to recover through aeration, fertilization

and over seeding when needed while

the other side is open to users.

We do not

have a set rotation schedule, but allow

our maintenance staff to make that decision

based on the condition of the turf.

Randy Burkhardt

Q: Naming of parks can be an interesting,

political and complicated process.

What process do you have to name a


A: We have a rapidly growing park system

in Wisconsin’s fastest growing city of

25,000. Our growth is headed for

35,000+ by the year 2020, and with this

growth we will continue to acquire more

parkland as we have in the past several


Up until three years ago, the

responsibility of naming parks being

accepted into our park system was primarily

under my direction.

Prior to that

time, parks were primarily named after

the name of the development they were

in, such as Royal Oak Park, which was in

the Royal Oak development.

As a result,

upon arriving in my position over 26

years ago, I inherited a parks system that

had park names of Royal Oak 1, Royal

Oak 2 and Royal Oak 3. Needless to say

these names didn’t last long as I developed

a re-name the park contest with the

elementary school located in the neighborhood

(also called Royal Oak).


contest worked well. During the past several

years, we have taken on several more

park areas and have tried to be creative in

naming these new parks by sponsoring

additional name the parks contests in the

schools, having the new development

residents submit names for their neighborhood

park or having staff submit

names for consideration by our Parks,

Recreation & Forestry Commission.

Contest winners were rewarded with season

passes to our family aquatic center.

Various degrees of success with this

method resulted.

I developed our Parks

Naming Policy that was adopted in 2002

that would govern existing and new

parks and special use areas within a park

that were not named, such as ball diamonds,

skateboard facilities, and so on.

With the input of several of my professional

colleagues that I asked for assistance

from, this process came to its final


Included within the Parks

Naming Policy are sections on the

Purpose, Authorization, Objectives,

Qualifying Names, Naming Process of

Existing Un-named Facilities, Naming

Process of New Facilities and Signs,

Plaques and Markers.

The policy

described here sets a wide range of criteria

for what is and is not an acceptable

name, along with submitting the justification

for the name.

We have used it

three times to date with the names of

Orfan Community Park, Stoneridge

Estates Community Park and Windy

Ridge Neighborhood Park emerging as

the park names selected.

In the interest of

space for this publication, please contact

me at

and I will send you a copy of our Park

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