The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Community

February 24, 2014

Junior Council members seek dog park completion

GROVE CITY — Grove City Borough Council’s junior members hope to finish their last year of high school with a bang – or in this case, a bark.

Eighteen-year-old Samuel Archibald wishes to wrap up his year in the Junior Council program by putting together a dog park with the help of 17-year-old cohort Steven Shi, who is also a member of Junior Council.

The boys were responsible for organizing the Halloween Parade last fall; the off-leash dog park has been presented to council in prior years – and is a much larger endeavor that will need a lot of community support.

The Parks and Recreation Committee, led by councilman Mike Coulter, met Feb. 11 to talk about the dog park.

The park is being considered at a location along Greenwood Drive, across from the playground. Dog owners already walk their pets along Greenwood and the paved walking trail surrounding the wastewater treatment plant; however, law requires they keep them on a leash. The dog park would be fenced to allow pooches to run around freely.

Samuel came up with a figure of about $5,000 for a 150-by-60 foot dog park – or about one-fourth of an acre, he said.

The space would be enclosed with a five-foot-high galvanized, chain-linked fence. The startup costs would also include waste bags – and a bag dispenser, trash can and signage to encourage pet-waste cleanup by dog masters.

A 10-by-10 foot fenced-in space attached to the entrance of the park – acting as a kind of closed-in foyer to keep canines within the larger area from running out when new dogs arrived – was also part of the proposed park area. Both sections would have their own doors.

Maintenance by the borough would include mowing, cleaning up waste not picked up by pet owners and replacing trash/dog-waste bags.

Some non-essential items, like park benches, trees and tunnels/hoops – also known as dog “toys” at the park – were discussed at the committee meeting as well.

Members were concerned about whether the park would need two, fenced-in areas to separate large from small dogs; liability if a person/pet is attacked by a dog; and ways to keep down maintenance costs.

Other considerations for the park included the addition of a surveillance camera, recycling dog waste, ways to save costs and different potential locations – such as Grove City Memorial Park or the field in the center of the walking trail.

To raise funds, Coulter suggested 24-by-24 inch, five-year advertisements for businesses making a donation to the park as well as individual sponsors; names could be attached to a small plaque on a board or a memorial bench.

He noted that he “raised the idea” of the donations being tax exempt to the board of Grove Grow City, a non-profit organization that is involved in revitalization efforts in town.

The park “would be a tremendous asset,” said councilman Todd Wood, especially for pet owners who live in apartments and don’t own green space for their dogs to run around.

Coulter said he would like to have the funds and construction ready to go by June before Samuel leaves to study in Wales for a couple of weeks – and Steven takes off on a traveling adventure.

Steven and Samuel were picked by council as non-voting Junior Council members a year ago.

“It’s been really enjoyable being on council. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere but they still get things done,” Steven said.

“It’s been cool to be on the inside,” Samuel added.

Council approved fundraising for the no-leash dog park at last week’s meeting, pending costs of liability insurance or and dog waste disposal – which Coulter will investigate for the March council meeting. He reported that recycling dog waste is costly. Coulter said it would be best to separate larger and smaller dogs by dividing a space that would cost about $7,000.

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