PARMA, Ohio - Dog owners in Parma will have to find another place to take their pooches to play and they are not happy about it.
On Friday, Parma officials closed a dog park created by volunteer residents in an empty field next to Jerry Stano Park, near Snow Road and West 54th Street, due to health and safety concerns.
The dog park, created last year, was initially kept clean by volunteers, but officials said overtime that changed.
"The volunteers decided that they had enough, that they couldn't keep up with the pick-up and the cleaning of the park," said Parma Safety Director Greg Baeppler. "When that ended, then it became a health issue for all of us."
Safety of residents and their pets was also a concern by city officials as was the park's location to nearby homes.
"Most of the other dog parks you'll find are located away from residential neighborhoods and almost every one of them is going to have parking. There's not one parking space within 200 feet of here," said Baeppler.
Leah Dula, of Parma, and Kristin Green, of Parma Heights, met at the dog park. They will miss the opportunity to socialize with other residents.
"It's devastating that they shut that down," said Dula. "It wasn't bothering nobody. It wasn't hurting anyone it being there, period."
"I have to go out to Brunswick now," said Green. "It's a good half hour drive to their dog park."
Dogs are not allowed leashed or unleashed in any Parma park. For area dog owners, the reality of the dog park being shut down began to set in.
"I guess all good things must come to an end," said Dula.
In another dog park related matter, Parma Planning Commission rejected a plan May 30 for the expansion of a private dog park at Hummingbird Pointe Apartments. The complex had hoped to expand its existing dog park to almost four times its size.
City officials were concerned that a larger dog park would disturb nearby residents.
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