By Danielle Woodward
Mason Times staff writer
At the Mason City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 4 , three girls no older than 13 stood out in a crowd otherwise composed of adults.
These girls, members of the Mason Middle School Girl Scout Troop 414, came to propose the first dog park for Mason.
Brianna Lound, 13; Bailey Cole, 12; and Meg Lechleitner, 13, stood before the city council to propose the idea as part of the city’s five-year recreation plan.
“We realized that Mason doesn’t have a dog park and the parks we have now either don’t let the dogs run free or don’t let dogs in at all,” said Lound.
Although the county does not allow dogs at parks, City Administrator Martin Colburn said the city of Mason does.
“It also helps the dogs and people socialize so dogs won’t be as antisocial and a little friendlier toward humans,” said Cole.
Lound added that it was a great opportunity for both humans and dogs to get exercise, as well as a good place for owners to take dogs who do not have money for luxuries such as pet toys or dog walkers.
In their proposal, the girls stated that ideally they would like two acres of fenced in land, preferably as a new stand-alone park but also possibly building it into one of Mason’s existing parks. The girls planned to use fencing to divide the park up into two weight groups, giving each an acre of land.
The motivation behind the girls’ idea for a dog park came from earning their “Silver Star Award” from their Girl Scout troop.
Lound explained that the girl scouts complete certain tasks as part of their “journey” and one includes a big project that they spend at least 50 hours on, for which they receive the Silver Star.
While earning the Silver Star, they hoped to raise money and get volunteers to build the park and keep it going. In the proposal they included two small sheds for materials, picnic tables, benches, dog toys, and cleaning supplies.
Council member John Droscha said that although he supports the idea of a dog park, he is unsure how and if they can fit it into the budget.
The girls are unsure on an exact location for this dog park, but agree that with more planning and searching, they should find room.
“I think the plan that we heard tonight was preliminary. I think once we hear more interest from both these young people and the city about whether or not they would want a separate park, we can see where we go from there,” said council member Marlon Brown.
Colburn agreed and said that while the girls had put a lot of thought and time into this, a lot of details needed to be thought through. He said it would be up to them to come back with a more detailed plan.
“We will work with them, but they need to really work together and package this,” said Colburn.