By Kevin Collison
Downtown dogs have a new pad to hang out by the Central Library garage, an artificial approach to better accommodate nature’s call.
The library in partnership with the Downtown Council Community Improvement District recently installed 6,000 square feet of synthetic lawn in front of the library’s iconic bookend mural.
It replaces a patch of grass that had struggled for years.
“You can’t grow grass because of the shade and the dogs,” said Sean O’Byrne, vice president of the Downtown Council.
“It’s designed to percolate through the soil and people need to pick up after their doggies. We think it’s a great opportunity.”
CityScene KC reported last year about the need for downtown residents to do a better job of curbing their dogs.
There are an estimated 7,685 dogs living in greater downtown, according to a formula used by the American Veterinary Medical Association based on the number of households.
That adds up to tons of poop.
But downtown wasn’t originally built as pet-friendly place.
So all those dogs have taken their toll on the green patches available, particularly in the Library District. It’s a neighborhood where of hundreds of apartments are located in converted buildings near the Central Library.
“Synthetic lawn was developed with dogs in mind,” O’Byrne said. “It’s a good alternative for a harsh urban environment.”
Besides replacing the patch in front of the garage bookend mural with synthetic lawn, new fencing has been put up around sidewalk landscaping wells in the Library District and hardier plants found.
Signs also have been added to encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets.
O’Byrne said finding better ways to accommodate dogs and encouraging their owners to be more responsible are part of the growing pains of the new downtown.
“When we started the revitalization of downtown, we thought we’d won if we saw people pushing baby carriages and walking dogs,” he said. “We’re seeing lots of both now.”
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