Toto Foundation to raise funds for project
By Angie Landsverk
A group of Waupaca area residents wants to create a dog exercise area on a 30-acre parcel owned by the city.
They presented their proposal to the Waupaca Common Council earlier this month during a Committee of the Whole meeting. No action was taken.
The off-leash dog exercise area would be called Tails to Trails Dog Exercise Area.
The property under consideration is located off of County Trunk E, north of Crystal Road.
The field is currently used for agriculture and is also the location of two city wells.
Parks and Recreation Director Aaron Jenson said Bob and Christine Faulks and Jerry Lyons approached him a while ago to discuss the idea.
Christine Faulks is the president of the ToTo Foundation board.
The foundation is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting wellness through people and pets. It is backing this project financially, she said.
The goal is for the dog exercise area to be at a zero cost to the city, she said.
“We looked at a couple options in the city and then back to this,” Jenson said of the property being considered.
The Waupaca County Parks Department operates the current county dog park, which is located on city property by the Waupaca Regional Recycling & Compost Center.
If the proposal for a second and larger dog park moves forward, the county would also be responsible for the maintenance of it.
Christine Faulks said the ToTo Foundation would raise money for the project and then turn it over to the county’s parks department.
Roger Holman, the county’s parks director, said the county is involved in the discussion because it already runs the current park and has since it opened 15 years ago.
There is no opportunity for expansion at that dog park, he said.
Many Waupaca area residents use that park, but it is not ADA accessible.
Holman said the new dog exercise area would benefit dogs and their owners.
The plan includes a double entry system, perimeter fencing, portable toilets, fresh water for dogs, picnic tables, shelters for shade, benches and walking paths.
It would be open every day year round, from sunrise until one hour past sunset.
Holman said the county and city would need to come to an agreement related to the land, including protection of the city’s wellhead.
“I hope initially, we could work into a five-year agreement because of the investment people would be putting in,” he said.
Jenson said this area was once considered for a soccer facility but noted the high school soccer fields are now being used for that program.
Christine Faulks hopes much of the work needed to prepare the site for dog exercise would be through in-kind donations from area companies.
Holman said the county would be involved in the design of the park, as well as its maintenance and enforcement.
The proposal includes a user fee.
The goal would be to generate enough revenue from that fee to cover maintenance costs, he said.
The current dog park in the city is free.
If the dog exercise area idea moves forward, Holman said the county would not immediately close the smaller park.
Instead, it would watch the usage.
“Maybe we could turn that into a small dog facility,” he said. “If we see the use drop, there is no need to maintain two in the same area.”
With active farms in the area being considered for the larger dog park, one town of Lind resident asked if dogs will be able to jump over the fence and chase cattle.
Christine Faulks said a dog would have to be able to jump six feet in order to jump over the fence.
Steve Gall is Lind’s chairman and said the group presented the idea to the town a few months ago.
Lind’s concerns include water quality and making sure those who go into the park with a dog also leave with one.
Mayor Brian Smith said the purpose of this month’s presentation to the council was to get input.
Bob Faulks said they will gather information from Portage County regarding its dog exercise area and whether there have been any problems there.