Happy Tails: City agrees to speed up dog park for possible summer opening

October, 2017 Posted in Community

By Mary Owen

The Happy Tails Dog Park Committee requested the city move ahead immediately to complete the park in time for SummerFest and the Great American Eclipse.

“The final money is in, and it’s ready for design and implementation,” committee members Terri Mesa and Tami Burns told city councilors in their presentation with committee members at the May 15 council meeting.

The council’s reaction was to “get the design finished and get it out to bid.” Public Works Director Lance Ludwick said he would move “full speed ahead” once the funds were received.

The dog park was proposed in 2012 as a project for the FORD Rural Development Initiatives leadership trainings. By 2016, the committee met monthly, created a logo, researched equipment sources, and began fundraising. Four funding campaigns were launched via community business donations and Leaders of the Pack, Business Adventures and GoFundMe fundraisers.

Last fall, the city of Stayton agreed to set aside a $25,000 portion of an improvement grant, with the stipulation that volunteers raise the rest of the money before the end of the fiscal year 2017.

By the second week of this May, the committee surpassed its matching goal of $25,000 six weeks ahead of schedule with donations of $26,635.45, according to a committee report. The Santiam Community Endowment dedicated $15,000 of that amount to the building of the dog park as well as acting as the fiscal agent to collect any monies donated to the project.

“There is still much to be accomplished before Happy Tails is complete,” said Rèse Bourdeau, who spearheaded the project. “The many volunteers, dog professionals and local businesses that have spent hundreds of hours toward this endeavor are prepared to assist the city of Stayton in every way possible to assure the dog park becomes a reality this summer.”

Community feedback to the committee about the dog park has been positive, Bourdeau said.

Monte Mensing of Monte’s Coins and More believes the dog park will attract more people to downtown.

“I’m just getting a dog, and would love a dog park,” said Briny Tark, an employee of Moxieberry.

Mike Schultz of Lovin’ Oven told committee members that a place was needed to take care of dogs’ needs while their owners shopped and dined downtown. Carmélle Bielenberg, vice-president and chief operations officer of the Stayton Sublimity Chamber of Commerce, thinks the park will attract tourists and road-trippers along Highway 22 who need a place to take care of pet needs while traveling.

“Equally important is the positive impact this will have on creating neighborly relationships among those that live here in our community,” she wrote in a letter to the Happy Tails committee. “Also, bringing neighbors downtown could help increase traffic to local businesses, helping to increase the overall economic vitality of Stayton. I think it’s exciting any time we can support a project that enhances community livability and facilitates neighborliness.”

Dog park advocates hope the project will finish in time for SummerFest, the Great American Eclipse and other events coming this summer.

The Happy Tails Dog Park Committee members are: Jay Welch, Stayton Veterinary Hospital; 4-H representatives Kathy Hampton, Mary Albert and John and Judy Mohney; graphic artist Tricia McCain; Kathleen’s Pet Groom, and D’Tail Pet Grooming; Salem Dog Park consultant Linda Bush; and Bourdeau.

For more information, call Mayor Hank Porter at 503-769-5792.

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