Plans for dog park are progressing

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Plans for a dog park at Three Creeks Park are winding their way through the governmental system with the hope that construction of the facility could begin this fall with completion possible by the winter of 2008 or by early spring of 2009.

"We received bids for the project," said Mark Young, assistant director of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. "Now the project has to go through the legislative phase and contract approval. I think people will be quite pleased with the dog park once it is ready. It will really be a great asset for Southeast Columbus."

The estimated cost to develop the dog park is $240,000.

Dog parks are areas set aside for dogs to run free and play with other dogs while under the watchful eyes of their owners.

Plans are to place the dog park in a five acre area at Sycamore Fields in Three Creeks Park near Watkins and Spangler roads. Young said the park would feature enclosed, off leash separate areas for small and large dogs.

Twenty-five additional parking spots are planned near the dog park. Plans also call for incorporating the existing split rail fences into the dog park by attaching a mesh backing to them. Young stated this would help maintain the agricultural character of the park, which is located near Smith Farms.

Background

According to Young, a group of pet owners on Columbus’ south side began advocating for a dog park in 2005 and submitted a petition with 200 signatures supporting a dog park at Three Creeks Park. The Columbus Dog Park Advisory Committee, a 12 member group of pet advocates, recommended the Sycamore Fields site to Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.

"Dog parks are in high demand as pet owners are looking for safe and secure public spaces to let their dogs exercise and socialize without the constraint of a leash," said Young in an interview last December. "Leashes are not required in the dog park, but pet owners must keep their dogs under voice control. A pet owner can bring no more than two dogs to the park at a time.  Any dog displaying aggressive behavior must be removed from the dog park immediately."

Young added that a "Friends of the Dog Park" group could be formed from the south side advocates, as well as others, who sought the creation of the dog park. He said this group of volunteers would help monitor the park, help people use the park, inform people about park rules, and raise funds for future park amenities.

Dog park benefits

CHA Animal Shelter Manager Stephanie Wimbish stated not only dogs and their owners benefit from dog parks – animal shelters do, too.

"This is achieved by having fundraisers that benefit both entities. Also, the parks help strengthen the bond between pet and owner making them less likely to surrender their pet to an animal shelter," said Wimbish. "Plus it helps to really exercise dogs, which makes for a tired dog when they return home, thus not a destructive, badly behaved dog."

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