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Shawnee off-leash dog park closed for ADA renovations

Posted at 4:48 PM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 17:48:37-04

SHAWNEE, Kan. — The dog days of summer are coming to an end and so are the hours of operation at one local dog park. 

"I don't take my dogs very often," said Lea Klepees. 

As much as she would like to, Klepees hardly ever gets out to the dog park. She said it's because at times the trip can become too rough. 

"It's muddy, it's just not comfortable, especially if I'm by myself you know, I could get stuck," said Klepees. 

Klepees has been disabled her entire life. She was born with a disease that affects the joints and muscles in her legs. When she found out a nearby dog park was closing for renovations, she said she was thrilled. 

"Yes, we need more public spaces to be ADA compliant," said Klepees. 

The off-leash dog park at Shawnee Mission Park closed Monday for renovations to make the area more ADA compliant, starting with a new pathway through the park. 

"We're going to be building a concrete walkway from the parking lot all the way to the sidewalks that exist that take you down to the water," said Bill Maasen, Superintendent of Parks and Golf Courses, Johnson County Parks and Recreation District. 

Currently, there is only a partial pathway that turns into dirt and mulch. For 35 days, the dog park will close so the half-mile path can be paved. 

"It's a big improvement. It will be a big improvement especially for people with any kind of disability because it will be accessible for all," said Maasen. 

Johnson County Parks and Recreation has not received any direct complaints about the popular dog park. Maasen said the ADA renovations are something that needs to be done before their fall audit that evaluates accessibility. 

"It's going to be a little bit of a burden for folks, they'll have to go to one of our three other off-leash dog parks," said Maasen. 

While construction is underway, dog owners can take their pets to the off-leash areas at Heritage Park in Olathe, Stoll Park in Overland Park, and Kill Creek Streamway Park in De Soto.

The off-leash area will reopen to the public on Sept. 17. 

Along with the new pathway, Shawnee Mission Park is fencing in the more than 40-acre off-leash area. 

Just a friendly reminder that in addition to being potentially hazardous to both dogs and people, entering the off-leash area during this construction closure, which also includes the parking lot, will be considered trespassing.