Two major items stood out in the Pierre City Commission meeting, July 9. One was the introduction of the head of the Municipal Pool Capital Campaign, Ron Woodburn. The other was the passage of the location for a future municipal dog park.

Woodburn is the new chairman of a multi-group effort in raising a hoped-for $5.5 million to add to the city’s $6.5 million for a new community outdoor swimming pool. He is the retired retired director of the Capital University Center in Pierre.

The campaign officially kicks off this Sunday, July 14.

“We’ll be at the Trappers home baseball game kicking this campaign off with a lot of energy and family fun,” Woodburn said.

“Together the city and its community members built Hyde Stadium into a crown jewel of Pierre,” Woodburn continued. “Now, the city is using a public/private partnership to add another flagship amenity to the Pierre landscape.”

At the game, there will be giveaways, between-inning activities, and more information about the pool project.

“People should be prepared to get wet if they get on the field,” he said. The game starts at 4 p.m. at Hyde Stadium.

Last March, the city commission approved a plan to replace Pierre’s 90-plus-year-old outdoor pool.

According to the city, the plan includes a $6.5-million base model paid for by the city, and a fundraising initiative to pay for additional features. Final pool design is dependent on sponsorships and funds raised. A fundraising account has been established. Contributors can send checks made out to the City of Pierre ‘Pool Fund’ to City of Pierre, P.O. Box 1253, Pierre, SD 57501. For more information about the project, visit pierrepool.com.

Jokingly called the “Godfather of the pool,” Woodburn quipped back, “I just hope someone makes us an offer we can’t refuse.” He then seriously added, “In retirement, I avoid getting involved with things where I fear I may disappoint people. I will do my best to make the pool everything it should be.” Woodburn has been assembling committees to assist with the fundraising campaign.

The commission also heard lengthy testimony concerning a future fenced-in dog park.

The meeting room was more than packed with proponents and opponents. The debate was not if there should be a park; one would be a boon to the community. The debate focused on where the park should be sited — before any design, costs, or construction are to be considered.

Those favoring the park spent considerable time and effort picking a spot that had acceptable size (at least an acre), a residential buffer (minimal impact on the neighborhood), a water source (most likely city water), and availability for humans of parking, shade and restrooms. Their preference was a city-owned, park-zoned, field south of E. Sully Drive in the southeastern part of Pierre.

Meanwhile, homeowners on the north side of this street feared the possible noise of dogs and traffic, worries about children versus escaped or otherwise uncontrolled dogs, people partying in the open parking lot, loss of their open-field southerly view, turkey and deer no longer visiting the field and commercially-purchased signage going up on any fences.

However, discussion was fairly well shut down when the commission called on a newly acquired resident expert: Thomas Moore has been, for the last 41 days, the city’s new Superintendent of Park Operations.

“I have experience with three different cities putting in dog parks. It is important to listen to people, and this is only the start. The pros are not nearly has high, and the cons are not as hard as you think,” he said.”Each side will realize more of a common ground (when a park exists).”

He then added, “This is one of the best locations I have seen. Socialize dogs and socialize with people; it’s only a win/win situation.”

The commission voted, unanimously, to approve the location.

Now, work may begin on the designing of a future dog park.

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