2017-12-31 / Insight

Dog Park in Lapeer inching closer to reality

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER – Residents of Lapeer are eager to get their paws on a dog park.

This year, plans were announced to construct a dog park in Lapeer’s Rotary Park, and since then, the funds have been trickling in, slowly but steadily, to make it happen.

In June, members of the public were invited to a presentation and question and answer session with Lapeer Parks and Recreation Director Rodney Church. The topic was the practicality and logistics of making a dog park in Lapeer a reality. A committee was formed in April of 2016, and this committee, of which Church is a member, toured other area dog parks before announcing the project to the public at Lapeer Days last year.

Rotary Park was chosen, said Church in June, for several reasons, including its proximity to neighborhoods without directly conflicting with residential areas, as well as its downtown setting, existing parking, its accessibility and visibility from the streets, its existing water services and restrooms and perhaps most importantly, its underutilized nature.

The design is ambitious, including three separate fenced-in areas with several benches, water fixtures, terrain changes and paved paths, but Church said the drive behind many design choices is a desire to make Lapeer’s first public dog park the best it can be right from the start. With such an ambitious design comes a respectable price tag, and the project is currently estimated to cost $200,000 - $250,000, with the majority of that amount coming by way of fencing and construction costs.

Since the announcement in June, a Dog Park Fundraising Committee was formed with the challenge to source the funds needed to make a dog park in Lapeer a reality. Comprised of members of the public and city officials, the committee has held fundraising events throughout the autumn and winter.

In September, the committee organized their first major event, the 2017 Lapeer Dog Park Expo, which featured a barbecue cookout along with a dog item raffle and a pet item rummage sale. Despite the hefty price tag that accompanies the plans to install a dog park, the team remains committed to raising the funds and have also partnered with area restaurants and held photoshoots with Santa Claus to generate revenue. Next month, the committee is hoping community members participate in a planned bus trip to Greektown Casino in Detroit.

According to Church in November, the Dog Park Fundraising Committee is always open to public input.

“Don’t hesitate to reach out, we are always looking for new ideas for fundraising opportunities and new members on our fundraising committee,” said Church.

For more information on upcoming events or to follow along and stay up to date with breaking news, follow the Facebook page “Lapeer Dog Park” or contact Rodney Church at the Lapeer Community Center at 810-664-4431 with any questions.

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