The dream for a local dog park, held by many pet owners and by members of Wright Township’s parks and recreation committee, is closer to being realized as the first hurdle in the project –township approval –has been cleared.
At its March 13 meeting, the Wright Township Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a dog park on the grounds of its municipal park. The project, initially to cost $16,000, will be paid for completely by donations and fundraisers.
Laurel Prohaska and Thomas Mayka, members of the parks and recreation committee, explained after the meeting their plans for the dog park and expressed their excitement at the supervisors’ approval.
“I’m so thankful and I’m so happy that the supervisors voted unanimously for this,” Mayka related.
“We have a lot to do, but I’d love to see it happen in the next year,” Prohaska, who chairs the parks and recreation committee, added.
She carried a binder of research she’d done on other dog parks throughout the country and pointed out that allowing dogs to congregate together in a park setting has both health and social benefits.
Prohaska went on to describe the plans for the dog park. It will consist of two areas, one for small dogs that are 30 pounds and under, and another for larger dogs, over 30 pounds. The small dog area will be 77 by 40 square feet and the large dog area will be roughly 90 by 100 square feet. It will be created on the grassy area of the municipal park, to the left of the soccer and lacrosse fields and adjacent to the walking trails.
Modeled after other area dog parks, the Wright Township park will be double gated for security purposes, to ensure that dogs who are inside the fencing and off leash will not run out when the first gate door is opened.
This fencing, as well as the installation of signage and dog waste pick-up stations, is considered phase one and will cost $16,000. The dog park will be paid for completely by donations and through fundraisers, Prohaska explained, and, not wanting to overstep its bounds, the committee has yet to raise any funds, since it was waiting first for township approval.
Once it’s up and running, the committee hopes to expand the park to include trees for shading and agility equipment, Mayka noted. “This will be a dynamic project,” he said. “We will build and add to it over time.”
The idea for the dog park came
over a year ago, related Prohaska. She had been walking her beagle, Molly, on the trails at the municipal park often and Gary Bella, head of maintenance at the park, reported to her that 80-percent of the people who walk on the trails are with dogs.
Further, Prohaska was informed that people were making their own dog park areas on the township tennis courts, by closing the gates there and letting their dogs run loose. The parks and recreation committee knew this was not good for the maintenance of the tennis court, said Mayka.