Dog Park at Austintown Township Park is growing in popularity and this week, the park crew assembled and installed dog agility pieces that were received on Friday, Nov. 30.
The Dog Park in the township park off Kirk Road has been in the works for several years, according to Park Director Todd Shaffer.
"People had been asking for it for years," he said. "Former Park Director Joyce Gottron got requests for one over four years ago."
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Austintown Park employees Tex Martin and Christopher Daugherty assist Dave Swogger of Big E Transportation as they unload obstacle course features for the park’s dog run. The pieces should be installed by the end of this week and ready for use by residents and their furry friends.
Prior to the construction of Austintown's Dog Park, the only one in the Valley was at Mosquito Lake, according to Shaffer. Boardman Park has had one under construction for the last few years. He said the trustees brought the idea up over the summer and the plan to construct one was under way.
Shaffer said the location was easy. The north end of the park had a wide open grassy area that fit the bill perfectly. Youngstown Fence was given the task of enclosing the area for dogs to run free. They were approved for $3,700, which was a deal, according to Shaffer.
"They gave us a nice price on it," Shaffer said.
He said the funds came out of the park budget and were approved by Austintown trustees. Also approved by trustees was the sum of $13,096 for seven obstacle course items purchased through Dogon-It-Parks from Everett, Wash. Those items arrived in boxes on Friday and this week are being installed in the Dog Park area. The items include a frame bridge, teeter-totter, weaving poles, a tire jump, adjustable jump bar, an S tunnel, and some red fire hydrants.
The park crew has completed a larger parking area and a dual gate area where a dog owner and dog can enter in one gate, close it, then enter the run area through a second gate.
"That made it safe for dogs already inside, so they couldn't run out," Shaffer said.
He said prior to the construction of the Dog Park, people would come to the park and let their dogs run loose. Other dog walkers would complain and ask that it not be allowed, which forced the park to require all dogs to be on leashes.
"We don't have those complaints now," Shaffer said.
Walkers in Township Park still have to keep their dogs on leashes, but when they enter the Dog Park section, the leashes can come off and the dogs are free to run.
Shaffer said there is still a little more work to be done. Next summer he hopes to build a roofed area in the center of the Dog Park to allow people to sit in the shade to watch their dogs frolic. He said there is also a water line running near the Dog Park that could provide for a drinking fountain.
The Dog Park is drawing a good crowd, according to Shaffer. He said not only are Austintown residents enjoying the park, but he has had calls and even donations coming from North Jackson and Canfield residents as well.
One item Shaffer said he needs is plastic bags. The park is trying to provide bags to help dog owners clean up after their four-legged partner. He said anyone who has extra plastic shopping bags can drop them off at the maintenance building near the park entrance anytime.
As for monetary donations to help with the completion (the shelter and water fountain), Shaffer said people can contact him at 330-793-0718.
"We are always looking for ideas and donations to make our park better," he said.