Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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Mike Rhoads (left) and Leland Partine filled in a trench last week with round rocks for the French drain system at the now under-construction Monmouth dog park.
October 15, 2013
MONMOUTH -- Dog owners in Monmouth will soon have a place where their pooches can legally scamper about leash free -- just the way nature intended.
Work on Monmouth's one-acre, off-leash dog park began last week, turning the dream of Ruth Firestone and other members of the Friends of Monmouth Dog Park into a reality.
"The idea was born about 10 years ago," Firestone said. "The idea was brought to the city in the past, but was unable to get support at the time. Since that time, neighbors and I started meeting with the Parks and Recreation Board and through them we were able to get them to submit it to the (city) council to add it to the master plan."
Plans for the park started materializing in November 2011 when Firestone, who also serves on the city's planning commission, and other Friends started looking into funding possibilities and available sites.
A 36-acre plot behind Western Oregon University, a portion of the property at the S curve and the lot beside Christ's Church on Clay Street were looked at by the group, but all were deemed unsuitable by the city.
The city eventually decided on a portion of the recreation park off Hogan Road because of its location and it's already owned by the city.
"This is a site we started with and then we made sure there weren't any other better places," Mark Fancey, Monmouth community development director, said. "We don't have any land within our parks system that was better suited to this."
After the recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Board, the city council added the park to the city's 2013-14 general fund budget.
The city set aside $85,000 for the entire project, which includes a drainage system, an ADA-approved pathway from the public works/MINET parking lot and fencing.
"It can get kind of swampy out there in the middle almost throughout the year," Fancey said. "It starts with the drainage system, then the sidewalk to get out there and then the fencing. So, it's kind of building it from the ground up."
Firestone and Friends of Monmouth Dog Park have been raising funds for the last year to get a few amenities in the park once the work is complete -- some time toward the beginning of November, Fancey said.
"We have a little over $1,500 from local donations and we're hoping to have a couple grants that we might get some more amenities with," Firestone said. "The items we would focus on would be a shelter for an area during the rainy season, some benches, we also may do a kiosk for the front entrance of the park."
For now, the park remains nameless, though Firestone has been kicking around a few ideas.
Regardless of what the name ends up being, Firestone is just looking forward to getting her 4-year-old beagle, Malfoy, in the park and running around.
"My husband named her after the character from the Harry Potter movies. He said we can't name her a cutesy name, we have to name her something contrary," Firestone said.
"I've had people that don't have dogs say they're very happy to see the city is moving on putting something in. It's nice to give the dogs a place where they can freely run."