A place for man’s best friend

WILLMAR -- A volunteer group is seeking the public's help in winning a grant from a seller of underground pet fences to build a local dog park. Willmar is one of 300 communities competing for a grant in PetSafe's "Bark for Your Park'' contest. Pe...

WILLMAR - A volunteer group is seeking the public’s help in winning a grant from a seller of underground pet fences to build a local dog park.

Willmar is one of 300 communities competing for a grant in PetSafe’s “Bark for Your Park’’ contest.
PetSafe, a company that sells underground fences and other pet products, is offering a $100,000 grant and four $25,000 grants to cities that receive the most votes of support from the public for a dog park in their community.
Members of Kandiyohi County Dog Owners Group are encouraging the public to vote twice a day - on PetSafe’s website: - and on Facebook: The public can also connect with the group on Facebook at KC DOG if interested in helping.
PetSafe said in a news release that the total number of votes, along with population size, will be used to select 15 finalist communities. Finalists will be announced June 17.
“We’re sure hoping to be one of the top 15 and move on to the next phase,’’ said Lori Tostenson, one of six KC DOG volunteers. “We’re trying to spread the word and have people vote for us.’’
Tostenson said KC DOG is working with Willmar Community Education and Recreation and the city of Willmar to make the dream of an off-leash dog park a reality.
The dog park is being proposed at Lions Park, located just west of Swansson Field on 22nd Street Southwest.
Tostenson said the consultants that developed a master plan for the city park system suggested Lions Park, with just over two acres, as the best site for a dog park. Tostenson said KC DOG members talked to the Willmar Lions Club and they are OK with the proposal since the park now is underused.
The first phase of development is estimated at $45,000 and will cover the cost of fencing, water facilities, a few benches and a waste disposal system. The front part of the park and the shelter house will not be fenced. Later amenities could include a water feature to splash around in, a climbing ramp and lighting.
A bid for fencing has already been received. Andi’s FenceAll of Glenwood bid $21,495.55 to construct the fence. The cost was included in this year’s $150,000 capital improvement budget for park development.
The fencing bid and dog park were discussed May 26 by the City Council’s Public Works/Safety Committee. The committee discussed whether the dog park had been approved and if it should be considered park development.
The committee tabled the fencing bid and asked that dog park supporters and Steve Brisendine, Community Education and Recreation director, present more information about the dog park proposal to the committee at the June 9 meeting.
Tostenson said the fence company is waiting for approval to begin work.
She said donations from the public are welcome and can be made out to The City of Willmar, with Dog Park written on the memo line, and mailed to: Willmar Community Education and Recreation, 1234 Kandiyohi Ave. S.W., Willmar, MN 56201.
The group is also looking at the possibility of selling bricks for a pathway into the dog park. The buyers could inscribe the name of their pet or other information on their donated brick.
Tostenson said the dog park idea spun off from community members’ suggestions for things to do in Willmar as part of the Vision 2040 process. She said many people are interested in a dog park.
“We have 350 friends on Facebook and their comments agree that they would really like a dog park in Willmar so they can walk their dog there,’’ she said.
The group researched dog parks in other cities in Minnesota and Iowa and found that St. Cloud has two dog parks, Minneapolis has several, Litchfield has one and Plymouth has two.
Des Moines, Iowa, has a couple of big dog parks with huge amenities.
“That’s where we got the idea for our contest, fun little things and water amenities,’’ she said.


Willmar makes first cut for dog park grant


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