2015-11-12 / News

Park board moves forward

810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is turning its attention to fundraising for park improvements, including a dog park and a tot lot at Elms Park.

Boy Scouts Eric and Ryan Melen have proposed building the dog park as an Eagle Scout project. They are looking at the southwest corner, along Elms Road and Interstate 69, which is the least utilized section of the park.

Land on the north side of the driveway, where the older playground equipment is now, is earmarked for the tot lot. A fence will surround the tot lot, which will include swings, buckabouts, balance beams and a play structure with slide and climbing wall.

The park board is considering contracting with Kris Johns, one of the people who spearheaded fundraising for the Grand Blanc dog park, to help raise money for the local facility.

At the Wednesday, Nov. 4, park board meeting, Johns proposed a couple of fundraising ideas, including penny wars, a “slip and slide” event on the sledding hill next summer, and/or sales of decorative metal plaques, shaped like bones or paws, inscribed with the names of donors’ pets and affixed to the fence.

City Manager Adam Zettel called Johns’ ideas “intriguing.”

“Instead of purchasing a brick, they’re purchasing a memory, so to speak,” he said of the slip-and-slide suggestion. “We’re creating experiences.”

The Melen brothers also will seek grants and private donations for the dog park.

Johns said about $10,000 is a good target to get the scouts’ project started. It would pay for fence materials, signage and waste bag dispensers and receptacles.

The scouts also plan to build and install exercise stations such as tunnels and bridges, and possibly a water feature.

The board is looking at installing a divider so small dogs are not running around with large breeds.

The dog park could present opportunities for future Eagle Scout hopefuls, who could add benches or a pavilion/ rain shelter as the park’s popularity grows.

“This is wonderful,” said park board member Pat Williams. “There will be a lot of happy dogs.”

The park board will reconvene at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, at city hall. The play equipment vendor will present a site plan for the tot lot at that time, and additional fundraising ideas will be discussed.

Both projects are subject to final approval by the City Council.

So far, veterinarians from Frontier Veterinary Clinic and Swartz Creek Veterinary Hospital have endorsed the dog park plan.

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