Despite living in an age when budget cuts are the norm, a partnership in Gladstone is showing worthwhile projects can still move forward.
Many months ago, Escanaba resident Anita Carlson and other interested residents banded together to attempt to create a dog park in the area. A dog park is a fenced in area where dogs are allowed to roam free, socialize and play. They are a part of many communities throughout the country.
Naturally, funding was a concern in these days of budget cuts. A dog park is needed and would be used by many residents. Money for such projects, though, is hard to come by.
The group's search eventually lead to the city of Gladstone. The Gladstone Recreation Board like the idea, and wheels began to turn. Although the city is not funding the dog park, it did agree to donate a piece of property for the park as part of its future development of the Gladstone Sports Park Complex.
Coming up with the funds to create the actual park is one the shoulders of the private citizens who are advocating its construction. The funds won't come from taxpayers or Gladstone's tight budget. Carlson said the group plans to pursue grants and will be holding fund-raisers to finance the project.
Everybody wins in this situation. It would have been easy for the city of Gladstone to turn the dog park group away in light of its current budget situation. In turn, the private citizens could have easily given up pursuing the park when government money was not available. Instead, each side brought what it could to the table. The city could donate the land and organizers have the drive to finance the park. Together, a project which may have otherwise died is alive and kicking.
This serves as a good example of how cooperation can benefit and improve the community. Let's hope government and other groups also find ways to bypass budget hardships and benefit the community as well.