Members of Dubuque’s Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday approved their newest plan to allow leashed, licensed pets in most city parks.

In 2014, a split Dubuque City Council killed a proposed ordinance change that would have allowed pets in all city parks, with a few exceptions. But demand for the change endured, and in 2018, council members approved formation of the 10-member Pet-Friendly Dubuque Committee.

In July, that committee delivered a report declaring Dubuque lacking in pet-friendly amenities. Given that assessment, the city Parks and Recreation Commission opted to revisit that 2014 ordinance update.

The new, updated ordinance amendment would allow dogs and cats in all city parks, trails, open spaces and areas with a few specific exceptions. However, the exceptions differ this time around.

Bunker Hill Golf Course, Marshall Park, Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and Nicholas J. Sutton and Flora Park swimming pools all would keep their places on the pet-free list.

They would be joined by Veterans Memorial Plaza, any fenced-in sporting areas, locations that are part of the National Register of Historic Places and other areas designated by the commission.

Commission Member Jennifer Tigges voiced concerns about the National Register of Historic Places piece.

“My concern right now is that I can take my dog and walk around the pine chapel at Mines of Spain,” she said. “If it’s the building, can they walk on the sidewalk in front of it? I want to avoid something strange like that.”

Steve Fehsal, manager of the city’s parks division, asked if the language would allow pets in park buildings, such as the one at Allison-Henderson Park, where the commission met Tuesday.

Commission Member Matt Werner, who penned the amendment update, said the language allowing the commission to make exceptions would take care of that.

With the commission’s approval, the draft recommendation will be sent to the City of Dubuque Legal Department. Staffers will review the recommendation, which will be sent back to the commission for final approval. The measure then would be sent to the City Council for consideration.

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