City gets $5,000 grant for dog park updates

The Columbus Dog Park will get some upgrades starting in spring after the city was awarded a $5,000 grant.

Columbus was one of 25 cities that received funding through the PetSafe Bark for Your Park grant-giving program and one of 10 cities awarded $5,000 in grant money that will be used to assist with upgrades at the dog park.

The funding will be used to install agility and obstacle course equipment in the large dog section of the park located at Marr Road and Hollowell Drive, said Stacy Findley, project and resource development director for the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department. Findley said the upgrades will represent a major improvement.

“That space is a blank canvas,” Findley said. “It’s a great area, but the biggest thing is there’s not a lot for the dogs to do. My hopes for this would be if we have more things to do, that would increase our membership.”

Findley said feedback from the community indicated there was a need for equipment at the half-acre dog park, which has about 140 members. PetSafe will help the city in selecting appropriate equipment for the site, she said.

Mark Jones, parks and recreation director for the city, said the planned upgrades should spur more activity at the dog park, which opened in 2010. The site has been operated by the parks department since the beginning of 2016.

Jones said the dog park allows pets to be more active and brings people together, adding that the upgrades will be beneficial.

“Hopefully it’s a win-win for the parks department and the community,” Jones said. “A dog park is a place to gather, to socialize and get to know each other, so it’s a community thing, too.”

PetSafe, which launched its nationwide Bark for Your Park program in 2011, has been working to create more off-leash dog parks around the country to bring people together and provide a place for dogs to receive exercise and socialization.

“The goal of Bark for Your Park has always been to help communities become better places to live for people and their pets,” said Willie Wallace, CEO of Radio Systems Corp., parent company of PetSafe. “Finding a pet-friendly community is more important than ever. Dog parks are the second must-have amenity people search for when looking for a new city to call home. Plus, proper exercise and socialization reduces behavior issues, which keeps dogs out of local shelters and rescues.”

Findley also said the park upgrades should provide an improved atmosphere for visitors and their dogs. It could also result in new programming by the parks department being introduced at the site as well, she said.

About the Columbus Dog Park

Where: At the corner of Marr Road and Hollowell Drive

Hours of operation: Open seven days a week from dawn to 11 p.m.

Cost: Dog park passes are $25 for the first dog, $20 for the second and $15 for each additional animal. Applications can be filled out at the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department, 739 22nd St.

More information: Visitcolumbusparksandrec.com/facilities-parks-and-rental-information/facility-listing/columbus-dog-park/ or call 812-376-2680.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com