The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

October 28, 2011

Volunteers needed for dog park

ASHTABULA —  Oh, the social lives of dogs. Piddle on a hydrant, tug at a leash, sniff your best friend — all in a dog day.

Ashtabula County will be a little more doggy friendly in November after volunteers from the newly formed Lake Erie Dog Park Association erect the fence at Ashtabula County’s first dog park on No. 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., committee member Amy Gustafson said.

Dubbed the Smith Field Dog Park, the  200 foot by 200 foot space at Smith Field at Carpenter Road and West Avenue at the former midget football field, was proposed by local animal lover Marie Kane. Kane formed the LEDPA and found funding for the project through the Ashtabula Parks and Recreation Board.

Kane said veterinarian Becky Salinger and Ashtabula Parks Board member Richard Quaranta stepped forward to help make the park a reality as the eight-person association met to hammer out the details.

“We needed $22,000 in chain link fence alone,” Gustafson said. “Now we need volunteers to get it set up.”

Gustafson said the park will feature two areas — one for little dogs under 25 pounds and one for large dogs. A four-foot-tall fence will surround the park, and a water line will be extended from the restrooms at Smith Field to the dog area for a dog water fountain. PDQ Signs and Graphics of Willoughby will provide a new sign for the park.

The association hopes to open the park on Nov. 7 with a formal dedication in the spring.

“The dog park portion of the field is really for the socialization of dogs more than for exercise,” she said. “The park is about getting people together and getting the dogs together, too,” she said.

Anyone interested in volunteering to set up the chain link fence can email ledpa@yahoo.com. The LEDPA is also on Facebook, Gustafson said.

The group also hopes to establish not-for-profit status within a few months, Gustafson said, so dog lovers can make tax- deductible donations toward the development of the park.

“In the spring, we need to plant some trees and put in some picnic tables and run that water line for the fountain,” she said.

But that isn’t the final work for the LEDPA, Gustafson said.

“We really hope a lot of people take advantage of the dog park. Eventually, the association would like to develop several dog parks in Ashtabula County — maybe one in Conneaut and possibly one in Harpersfield Township,” she said.

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