Eureka Dog Park a reality now as construction begins

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 ~ Updated 1:52 PM

EUREKA SPRINGS -- The advisory committee that oversees the construction of the new dog park in Harmon Park has begun the initial phases of construction, including having an entrance paved and starting the fencing.

The Eureka Springs Dog Park is the first of its kind in the county, according to the park proposal from the committee.

"We have gone before the council and the Historic District Commission to get approval," said Jan Grinnell of the Eureka Springs Dog Park Advisory Committee. "Our City Council has signed off on it, and the mayor has written a letter and the chamber has written a letter showing support."

The Parks and Recreation Commission has shown support by paving an area for parking and an entrance to Harmon and also donating the approximate acre of land that will be used for the dog park. The park will not be established through tax funds, but rather private donations.

"I want to express my support for this park as pets are parts of most family structures," wrote Mayor Morris Pate in correspondence to a committee member dated Oct. 25, 2012. "If keeping the pets happy and healthy means keeping the family happy and healthy, I am all for it!"

The Good Shepherd Humane Society also has written a letter of support.

"Speaking for myself and the staff of the GSHS animal shelter, we heartily support the proposed Eureka Springs Dog Park," wrote Janice Durbin, shelter manager, in correspondence dated Oct. 11, 2012. "For training events, the dog park would provide an excellent and much needed area... [it] would be a welcoming environment for pet owners and pets to work on the skills that make for a well-adjusted addition to the family."

The ESDPAC has nearly $14,000 of the proposed $27,000 the committee estimated it needed to start the project, Grinnell said. The committee has received donations from local banks and businesses as well as private individuals. Committee members have also hosted garage sales, bake sales and brick sales.

The committee sells bricks that can be customized with the name of a two- or four-legged loved one to decorate a memorial garden that is planned to be part of the project. The proposed park will also have three separated areas for small dogs, large dogs and shows, presentations and training programs that are pet-oriented.

The committee also has planned to have benches, water fountains, pools, pet waste stations and other doggy attractions, but that is all limited to the money raised, Grinnell explained. At the moment, the area for the park has been designated and the fencing has been started. The park will be maintained and the fencing will be finished by the help of volunteers.

"We would like the community to help with the fence post and stringing the fencing, which is going to be a black chain length fence," Grinnell explained as she walked over the area where it would go. "We should be starting in the first of March depending on the weather, of course, and for an update, you can go to our Facebook for the Eureka Springs Dog Park."

The park would be located between the playground area and Grand Avenue in Harmon Park. The hilly terrain is not ideal for all people, but it makes good exercise for canines, Grinnell said. The rules for the park will be posted at the entrance. The park will advocate responsible pet ownership and stress the importance of spaying and neutering, as well as vaccinations, according to the proposal.

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