MARINETTE — The Marinette Parks & Recreation Committee briefly returned to the discussion of dogs in parks during its Tuesday meeting. 

The City of Marinette recently discussed banning dogs from all city parks in order to help keep parks free of dog waste, but the city council ultimately decided against it after receiving extensive public comment in favor of dogs in parks. The issue was sent back to committee for further consideration. 

On Tuesday, Alderperson-at-large and Parks & Recreation Committee Chairperson Dorothy Kowalski explained she had asked Ward 4 Alderman Dave Anderson and Ward 5 Alderman Wally Hitt to contact interested parties to hold a meeting to develop a solution or plan to help keep city parks free of dog waste. Anderson said that the initial meeting would be held at the end of this week or the beginning of next, and that all who had ideas were invited to attend. 

“We will go from there to discuss further opportunities... to come up with a solution,” he said. 

Kowalski said she hoped the city could “find some solution, short of banning dogs.” 

Former Marinette mayor Doug Oitzinger, who spoke during public comment, said he felt the discussion of whether dogs should be allowed in parks was “missing the forest for the trees.” He suggested the committee focus on controlling the large local population of Canada geese. 

“As we’re concerned about animal feces in our parks and what it does for our residents and visitors who use those parks, it’s not dog poop,” he said. “It’s goose poop. And that’s not on anybody’s agenda, and it’s not being dealt with.” 

Oitzinger said the city used to participate in a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) program which helped cull geese numbers, and asked if the city still participated in it or had other plans to address the geese. Ward 1 Alderman Ken Keller said the city forester had recently ordered strobe lights to deter geese that were likely to be installed this coming spring at Menekaunee Harbor Park. If they are effective, Keller said, they will order more for installation at other city parks. 

Discussion turned to installation of dog waste bag dispensers and garbage cans at park entrances, and Ward 7 Alderman Rick Polzin asked if any new fixtures had been installed. Superintendent of Public Works Patrick Carlson said he had been checking more periodically to make sure existing dispensers had bags in them, and a representative from Mighty Pet in Menominee said the business was still willing to pay for more dispensers, provided the city developed a list of park entrances in need of them. 

The committee did not take action on the topic, but did place it on next month’s agenda for further discussion, along with the topic of geese population control. 

In other business, the Parks & Recreation Committee discussed: 

¦ A one-year events and marketing plan for the Community REC Center. Committee members received a tentative list of planned large-scale events over the next year, which included a Health & Wellness Expo on Sept. 25, Under the Lights Entertainment Pro Wrestling on Oct. 5, a Brews, Blues & BBQ event on Oct. 12, Colossal Fossils on Nov. 9, and more. 

¦ Playground equipment condition in city parks. The discussion followed a prior report that many of the city’s playground equipment structures were not compliant with state standards. On Tuesday, Executive Recreation Director Gavin Scray invited the committee to tour city parks to see the non-compliant structures, and a field trip was tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. on Aug. 21, beginning at Red Arrow Park. 

¦ Fundraising efforts for a cushioned walking track at the Community REC Center, to be installed over the existing track encircling the turf field. Scray said the Recreation Department had received $50,000 in pledges over the past month, and the city’s Finance & Insurance Committee had agreed to use some of the funds from the recently-awarded Focus on Energy grant to meet the $130,000 price tag. Scray added that the city engineer was working to develop the specifications for the track.