Dogs may soon get a special place to play in Independence
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012 14:02
There are approximately 78.2 million dogs owned in the United States, according to The Humane Society. Of course, all dog owners know that one of the things dogs like doing the most is running and playing. For dog owners in the Monmouth/Independence, area this either means they must have the land to let their animals run and play at their free will, or traveling into the surrounding cities to take their dog to a dog park. This could mean traveling up to 20 minutes to the nearest park. Hopefully, this will soon be in the past.
Last October, a survey was sent out to assess interest in bringing a dog park to Independence. Since there was such a great response, a dog park Committee was formed with 10-18 interested community volunteers and has been meeting on Saturdays at 8 a.m. The group ranges from Central High School seniors completing their senior projects to retired community members who have a love for dogs.
Currently, the committee is aiming to begin construction of the fencing that will surround the park. They will also install drinking water stations and cleanup stations. In the future, park benches will be added, as well as other features for the human population.
"We have a very enthusiastic group. They are on top of getting out and asking for estimates and are very active in planning. Sometimes you get groups that are all about the planning as long as someone else is ready to do the work. This group is not like that. They are having fun planning and ready to get their hands dirty," says Robin Puccetti, the Community Services Director in Independence and owner of an Australian Shepard/Collie mix. Puccetti works very closely with the Independence Library and Museum and is a member of the Dog Park Committee.
Puccetti stated that the committee will be presenting their plans for the dog park to the Independence Council on Feb. 28 at 7:30 a.m. The location currently being considered for the park is just north of Riverview Park in Independence with parking off of Grand Ave. it is approximately two acres.
The Committee has found land that they feel is a better fit since it is higher in elevation and is a better shape, but a private party owns this location, and the Committee will have to get approval before being allowed to do anything.
Puccetti stated that they are in the process of trying to obtain this land but if that falls through they will proceed as planned on the other land that has been offered.
One of Western's own is part of this committee. ASWOU Business and Finance Director Shanen Robels is "an active member of the committee heading most projects and getting a lot of college students aware of what is going on," stated Puccetti. "We have discussed what amenities would be beneficial to the dog park, we looked at what other parks have done and decided a final plan. We decided to have a rounded design so that dogs will not feel cornered, two entry gates - one on each end that is double gated for security, and the fencing would be six feet high to avoid dogs jumping over the fence," states Robles.
The estimate that the Committee has been given on the fencing will cost around $15,000.
Since the Committee is has no budget, this will all have to be fundraised. Once the money is raised, the committee will be able to begin construction on the park.
They are aiming to have the park completed right around the fourth of July Festival. Puccetti asks that anyone interested in joining the committee or in helping with the "dirty work" when the construction finally gets underway contacts the Committee.
"Independence is home to a lot of dogs and their humans. However, they currently have to travel to Minto Brown (which is not fenced) or to Dallas Dog Park. Having one that is closer to home will be more convenient and bring revenue into our small community, which is why we are naming it Independence Community Dog Park," says Robles.
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Robin Puccetti at firstname.lastname@example.org or at independencedog