DeWitt dog park in final planning stages

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DeWitt Dog Park

Do you hear that? Not yet, but you will at the corner of Herbison Road in the fall. A dog park is coming to the city of DeWitt as soon as September. After years of planning within a small group, DeWitt native Sarah Spencley and friends finally came to a consensus on where they would like to begin planning for a community dog park.

A portion of Padgett Park, which is located in front of the Southern Clinton County Municipal Utilities Authority, will be fenced in for dog parents and their furry children to roam freely.

“I’m originally from Wayland, Michigan. However, I’ve been in DeWitt for about 10 years now. We had a really nice dog park in Wayland where I would take my dog to all the time,” said Spencley, who is heading the project.

“I have two dogs now, and nowhere to take them to play with other dogs. They get tired of just walking up and down the same street with me.”

The community group, Friends of the DeWitt Dog Park, will be leading the project on operation and maintenance. According to Emily Altimare, who is also part of the Friends of the DeWitt Dog Park group, said the park will share a parking lot and restrooms with Padgett Park.

“Members of the community who are dog owners, and even those who aren’t, saw the need for this park,” said Altimare. “The closest one is in East Lansing, and it would be nice to just have one that’s right in our community.”

After receiving approval from the DeWitt City Board and the DeWitt Charter Township Board last month, they’re now in the process of raising the funds to offset the costs of fencing, signs, waste containers, benches, and any other necessities before the park can be open. So far, they have raised $826 of their $6,000 goal.

“Since this is the first dog park in DeWitt, we’ve been taking into account the suggestions from everyone possible,” said Spencley, who has been planning the park since October 2015. “Everyone wants to be heard and we understand that.”

She wants the dog park to satisfy everyone. Although she knows that’s not likely, she feels that letting everyone voice their opinions about things that they want to see or don’t want in the park is vital to the success and the future of public funding for maintenance.

DeWitt resident Sharon Thornton said she was excited when she heard the news about a possible dog park coming to town.

“Where they plan on putting the park is walking distance from my home, so that’s the best part,” said Thornton. “I take my dog to Padgett [Park] a few times a week. But there is no fencing and Herbison is a pretty busy road, so I can’t take my eyes off of her because she could run out into the intersection.”

Having the fenced in area dedicated to their four-legged family members will make dog owners like Thornton in the community “feel secure.”

For more information on donating or if you would like to keep up with the progression of the park, check out their GoFundMe or Facebook page.

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