By Coty Kenneth
Meridian Times staff writer
Man’s best friend will soon have a 10-acre park dedicated to the active lifestyle of dogs. It has been almost four years since the idea of a dog park in Meridian Township was brought to the table, and hopes of the interested residents remain high.
A portion of the 103-acre Legg Park will be where the dog park will be constructed. In 2009, residents formed The Dog Park Advisory Board. When the proposal was discussed in front of the Township Planning Commission, it was originally believed there was enough money to complete the park.
Vice chair of Meridian Township Park Commission, Teri Banas said “When we brought the plan to the commission, they told us we had to add a paved road that goes into the park. Which would cost us about $100,000, so that set the plan back.”
At the moment, the funds for this park are operating on one-third of the current millage, which is proving to be a problem said Banas.
“On Aug. 5, the township will have a millage campaign to raise money to complete the park,” said Banas. “With a successful campaign this summer, the township will be able to raise enough to complete the capital improvement.”
While funding is the main issue preventing this project from starting,environmental factors also need to be addressed. After further review by Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc., the addition of the dog park to Legg Park will have minimal impact on the wildlife. However, it is suggested that actions be taken to improve the value of the remaining wildlife area. It will be important to conserve the areas that are not affected by the dog park.
One responsibility of The Dog Park Advisory Board are the features of the space. The plan for the dog park, will play off a rustic theme. There are plans for trails that will naturally run through the trees, which will still leave plenty of open space to play fetch or relax in the shade.
Staying active is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle for dogs. Which is just reason residents have been pushing for this addition for over 10 years. Residents are thrilled about the plans finally getting under way.
“I’m excited that this park is still in the works because I think it should have happened a long time ago,” said Okemos resident Steven Fraas. “It’s important to me that my dog gets to be outside a lot but I only have so much space in my backyard. With a dog park so close, keeping her active won’t be such a hassle.”
Meridian Township is accepting donations from those who are interested in a new facility for their four-legged friend. All donations are considered charitable deductions for federal taxes.