By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The city will move ahead with plans for a public dog park after the idea had stalled several years for lack of funding and leadership.
It could be open this spring.
Originally envisioned on the east end of Veterans Park, the designated dog grounds now will be located just north of the Eastwood Softball Complex on Veterans Road.
“With the Vietnam Memorial Wall, the F-105 and the aquatic center all coming to Veterans Park, we thought it would be too congested,” said Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis.
The dog park effort formally launched in late 2009 under the leadership of then-resident Mark McDaniel and the help of the Parks and Recreation Department. But McDaniel left Tupelo, and fundraising efforts failed to produce enough cash for the project.
Everything had slowed to a halt.
But that changed recently with a $10,000 commitment from the Tupelo Quality of Life Committee and an additional $20,000 set aside from a city bond. Combined with the roughly $3,000 from fundraisers, it’s enough to develop the park, Lewis said.
Work is expected to begin within the next two weeks and end by the time weather warms up. The park will occupy a 1.5-acre footprint. And it’ll feature fencing around its entire perimeter with an interior fence separating an area for large dogs from another for small- and medium-sized dogs.
It also will have a pavilion and a canine obstacle course. Other features can be added later as more funds become available, Lewis said.
When it’s open to the public, dog owners will be able to let their pets loose in the park without a leash for exercise and the uninhibited sniffing of new friends.