Members of the Baraboo Parks and Recreation Commission recently advised workers within the department to make improvements at Liston Dog Park as a way to combat consistent moisture problems on the grounds.

The parcel of land spans roughly 2 acres along Hill Street near the Baraboo River. Noticeable sections of the large dog area of the park Saturday were muddy holes rather than green grass, something Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Mike Hardy said is a common sight for visitors and cause for their concern.

“Especially in the spring, it’s really been water-logged,” Hardy said.

He said the park opened in 2010. It was named by the Common Council in 2014 after Patrick Liston, who served as Baraboo mayor from 2004 to 2012. Liston was also an alderman for the city and had been an overseer of the park before its naming, serving as a liaison for feedback from users to the city and using it himself with his golden retriever Sally.

The park sits roughly 2 inches above the water table, which means the park has trouble with mud when the table rises.

Commission member Michael Plautz was one of the people who advised Hardy and staff to improve the park after the concerns were brought to commissioners’ attention

“We’ve had a lot of trouble with water,” Plautz said. “A lot of the field has been really wet.”

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The August meeting agenda also called for discussion regarding an additional location to accommodate park users who may not be agreeable to letting their canines roll around in muddy patches just to get them outside. Plautz said members talked about the possibility of converting areas like Attridge Park or Pierce Park to accommodate a space for dogs, but they decided against it after discussing the idea and hearing from a resident who opposes it.

“I think for the most part, we decided we don’t want to expand,” Plautz said.

Hardy echoed the notion, and said that members decided the city wasn’t “necessarily big enough for two dog parks.”

Instead, city workers will raise the current dog park. There will be fill added and a slope will be created to allow for water to drain south to a nearby storm drain. Some of the space may be decreased, but Hardy said they are “hoping to keep as much of the space as possible.”

The parks department will work with the Department of Public Works. Hardy said the project may likely take a month, which includes moving the earth and reseeding the ground, and that he hopes the project will be finished this fall.

An estimate from a local contractor identified the project cost at less than $10,000, Hardy said. The work will be funded by a $5,000 grant through PetSafe, a national electronic pet training product manufacturer, and $5,000 in donations to the dog park.

Work might shut down the park, Hardy said. However, they hope to only close down portions of it during the project, allowing use in separate areas even as work takes place. Otherwise, it will likely be closed for about a month.

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