Escanaba to get dog park this year

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press Oliver, of Escanaba, walks alongside his owner during a stroll through North Town on Friday. Area canine lovers will be glad to hear that Escanaba is planning to create a dog park on property by the Delta County Airport, which will be funded by $25,000 recently donated for that purpose.

ESCANABA — It looks like a dog park will finally become a reality in Escanaba this year due to a generous donation earmarked for the project, according to the city’s recreation director.

“A corporate sponsor has offered us a $25,000 donation for the park,” explained Recreation Director Kim Peterson, noting the company wants to remain anonymous for now until the funding is secured.

Earlier this month, the Escanaba Recreation Advisory Board announced the sizable donation, which will make the creation of the dog park possible this spring or summer, providing funding for the major expenses of fencing and a water source, said Peterson.

A dog park within the city limits has been included in the recreation department’s five-year plan, along with citizen input on the project, said Peterson, also noting a local citizen’s group had made efforts to develop a dog park in Escanaba a decade ago.

Recreation board members have been preparing for the project in the event funding became available. Peterson has researched and visited other municipal dog parks to get ideas for a local project.

Various sites within Escanaba have been considered during the past few years including city-owned land located east of the water plant and city property on the south side of the civic center.

Two sites at the Delta County Airport are currently being looked at to lease for a dog park, said Peterson. The recreation board is scheduled to choose one of these locations at its next meeting on Feb. 13.

The two sites include 3.5 acres located east of the airport on the east side of the north end of Airport Road and a 10-acre area located west of the airport on the north side of the west end of Renaissance Road.

Peterson said the board is seriously looking at the property alongside Airport Road because the location has a natural tree line that will provide shade and there is parking already available. The other site would need a bridge to access the property, which is swampy and has no trees, she said.

The proposed project is expected to cost between $20,000 and $30,000, said Peterson, who is hoping to save some money by having volunteers install the fencing around the dog park.

Other amenities would include a water source, a covered gazebo, signage, a garbage receptacle, and a dog poop bag dispenser. If additional funding becomes available, a portable restroom for dog owners could be added in the future, she said.

“This is a project where we can start small and expand later,” added Peterson.

The dog park will be available free to residents and visitors, she said, while the park’s maintenance will be taken care of by volunteers and the corporate sponsor.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,