Dog park plans moving forward

ESCANABA — Plans are moving forward to create a dog park in Escanaba on a 3.5-acre site along Airport Road, east of the county airport. The location was chosen during the regular monthly meeting of the Escanaba Recreation Advisory Board last week.

A dog park within the city limits is part of the recreation department’s five-year plan, explained Recreation Director Kim Peterson, also noting a local citizen’s group had made efforts to develop a dog park in Escanaba a decade ago.

A corporate sponsor recently donated $25,000 for the project, enabling board members and volunteers to put the plans into action.

“They believe they’re one step closer to the dog park becoming a reality,” Peterson said, noting the rec board directed her to obtain costs estimates for a five-foot and a six-foot fence with a double gate.

A list of volunteers is also being compiled to help with the project when it gets going in the spring, said Peterson, encouraging anyone interested in lending a hand to call the civic center at 786-4141.

The proposed project is expected to cost between $20,000 and $30,000. In addition to fencing, other expenses will 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.

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

In other action at the Feb. 13 meeting, following public hearings, the rec board agreed to complete grant applications to forward to council regarding funding to connect the city’s non-motorized pathways on the north side of town, a project estimated to cost $851,000.

Peterson said applications will be completed requesting $300,000 from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and a grant amount yet to be determined from the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program.

The city has already received $8,500 from the Hannahville Indian Community 2 Percent Grant and plans to request another $8,500 from the grant program, said Peterson. A $30,000 grant application has also been submitted for a Michigan Iron Belle Trail Grant, she said.

In other action, the rec board also held a public hearing needed to apply for a $100,000 Recreation Passport Grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to pay to replace the tennis courts at Ludington Park.