In an excellent example of citizens working with government, and clubs working for the good of the community, members of the newly formed Friends of New London Dog Park showed up with their dogs Sunday, Nov. 14 to thank the Jaycees for a $9,000 donation to the dog park.
City Council members approved the site and the start of development in their council meeting last week. As soon as the go ahead was given, Park and Rec Director Chad Hoerth was emailing the good news.
Hoerth is not a dog owner, but was open to the ideas of this demographic group to accommodate the canine population of the city.
“This is going to be great,” said Diane Montgomery, dog park supporter. Along with her husband, Mark Baetke, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Wolf River Veterinary Clinic on Wolf River Avenue, the two have spent time researching dog parks throughout Northeast Wisconsin. Parks in Brown County near Howard, in Sturgeon Bay and Appleton were all considered as models for what the New London facility could be.
“To have a dog park here will bring not only people from this city but others to our city,” said Mayor Gary Hanke, standing with his boxer, Jake. “That means revenue for our businesses, which is always a good thing for the economy.”
Hoerth compares it with the use of the disc golf course at Hatten Park. The local club brought in 25 people for their tournament last weekend, due to bad weather, but some tournaments have yielded two or three times that amount. Hoerth says it adds up quickly when several tournaments are held each year. Friends of the Dog Park can host events for dog lovers, too.
“The money donated by the Jaycees organization will be enough to construct the basic dog park next spring,” explained Hoerth. “This winter our crews will be cleaning up the trees that were blown down in the August 20th storm. Then, next spring, we’ll be putting in a fence and parking lot. Once the basics are done, and as more funds come in, we can add benches and other amenities.”
The Jaycees were happy to choose this project as their biggest donation of the year. “It is great for our organization to be a part of a project that will better the quality of life in our city,” said New London Jaycees President Josh Christianson. “We’ve seen quite a bit of excitement about the dog park, and we are proud to be involved.”
The park will be open for dog lovers by late spring, if all goes well. “But of course,” said Hoerth, “Wisconsin weather will ultimately dictate our progress.”