By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
At the Gadsden City Council meeting on August 8, the council unanimously approved a lease with the Humane Society Pet Rescue and Adoption Center for a portion of Kiwanis Island at the James D. Martin Wildlife Park that will be the future home of a dog park.
Humane Society Director Christi Brown said that she attended the pre-council meeting to participate in a discussion about the dog park, but that she did not expect the city council to approve the lease for another week. Brown expressed her gratitude that the city council members were excited to support the dog park.
The Humane Society has been discussing the idea of building a dog park for several years.
“It was part of our long-range plan, one of many projects that we want to implement to improve the lives of the animals in our area,” said Brown.
A little under a year ago, a committee was formed to begin working on making the dog park project a reality. The biggest challenge that the committee had was identifying a good location for the park.
According to Brown, the committee asked the community and found out that many people are already bringing their dogs to the James D. Martin Wildlife Park. City officials said that the central location of the wildlife park is ideal for providing access to “all residents of the city, county and surrounding areas.”
The city leased the portion of the park for 10 years at a fee of $1 a year. The dog park will be fenced off into two areas, one for smaller dogs and one for larger dogs, and have benches, waste stations and a watering station.
“The city is going to provide the property, right behind the Kiwanis Pavilion there at the entrance of the Bird Sanctuary on the mall side in that green space,” said Brown. “It’s very beautiful. We are going to try to maintain the integrity of the trees, also the integrity of the park itself.”
Brown said that James Martin is a friend to the shelter, so the Humane Society wishes to remain “mindful of the scenery.”
“We are going to try to improve upon the existing park,” said Brown. “We want it to feel like an extension of the park, not an installation at the park.”
To do this, the Humane Society wants the finished benches and fences to blend into the area, and the new waste stations to match the ones already at the park. The dog park will not infringe on the walking trail.
Now that the land is secure, the Humane Society wants to get construction under way as soon as possible.
After the dog park is built, the Humane Society intends to apply for grants to fund additions to the park. Brown hopes to build an agility course and provide other activities for the dogs at the park.
The dog park will be open from dawn to dusk, the same hours of the Wildlife Park.
To donate to the dog park, call Christi Brown at 256-442-1347, ext. 224. Sponsors for benches or portions of the fence are welcome.
“There are all kinds of different ways to help,” said Brown.