The Boardman Township Park and Marge Hartman's Paws Town, a volunteer non-profit organization, partnered to create Boardman's First Dog Park. The park officially opened April 1 for members only.
According to Boardman Park Executive Director Dan Slagle, the dog park will require an application that will show proof of a dog's vaccination and health record.
''The whole concept of the membership program is that safety is paramount,'' he said. ''In free and open dog parks, you don't know if the dogs have been vaccinated. It is the down-side of a free and open dog park.''
Slagle said the move to a members only dog park will deal with that issue. He said it also gives members a feel of ownership and thus will help in keeping the rules and insuring others do as well.
To obtain a membership application, a dog owner can visit the park's website at www.boardmanpark.com or stop by the park office during business hours. The application must be submitted along with the dog's vaccination records. The required annual fee is $40 for township residents for one dog and $10 for each additional dog. Non residents will pay $65 per year.
Slagle said once approved, the new member will receive a membership badge that they need to carry and preferably display when they are in the enclosure. They will also get an access code for the combination lock at the gate.
Memberships will be good for one year from April 1 to March 31. Membership fees will not be prorated. The fees collected will help with the maintenance of the dog park.
Slagle said the dog park is the only place in Boardman Park that permits dogs to run free without a leash. The rest of Boardman Park, including the trails, will still require a dog be leashed.
Slagle said the dog park has been open with no membership fee prior to April 1, but now the memberships are required.
Paws Town is located at Boardman Park at the Southern Boulevard entrance just off of State Route 224. It is a 3.25 acre fenced-in dog park and has separate fenced in areas for large and small dogs. Some of the amenities are water fountains for dogs and people, benches, and of room for dogs to run off leash. Amenities that will be added at a future date will include trees for shade, landscaping, fire hydrants and areas with a wood fiber surface.