Posted on January 20, 2011

Anger Rises Over Proposed Mpls. Dog Park

Randy Furst, Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul), January 19, 2011

At a highly volatile meeting punctuated by angry allegations, a series of speakers, most of them black, blasted the Minneapolis Park Board for continuing to consider a proposal to put a dog park on the site of the Martin Luther King Park in south Minneapolis.

The animosity overflowed when the board rejected efforts to remove King Park as an option for the dog park. Some in the audience rose and started to sing “We Shall Overcome,” the anthem of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Board Chair John Erwin promised the board would make a decision in February, but that did not pacify many in the crowd, who said putting a dog park in King Park would desecrate the memory of the slain civil rights leader.

Spike Moss, a long-time black civil rights activist, called a dog park at King Park “ridiculous,” citing the “savage dogs” that were once used to attack civil rights protesters. {snip}

He predicted that if a dog park was put in the King Park, young people would shoot the animals.

The dispute has continued to escalate over the past six months. Wednesday’s meeting appeared to pit the black audience members against the Park Board members in attendance, all of whom were white.