Tupelo dog park proponents dream big

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Organizers of a municipal dog park envision four acres of enclosed, landscaped terrain hugging one of Veteran’s Park’s two lakes, but they’ll need $400,000 to make it happen.
The group, led by Tupelo Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis and resident Mark McDaniels, presented its plan Monday to the mayor and City Council.
“I realize it’s a bit of a sticker shock,” Lewis said, “but it’s no different than other projects we’ve done.”
With fundraising, grants, sponsorships, donations and community support, Lewis said, the project will be feasible. And, it likely will occur in several phases to lessen the immediate financial burden.
City officials had questions but otherwise voiced support of the park, which has been in planning for about six months.
“It’s a place to let your dog out, get some exercise and interact,” said McDaniels, who frequented similar parks when he lived in Charleston, S.C.
It was McDaniels who spearheaded the current effort, and some two dozen residents have met regularly since autumn to plan the park.
An artist’s rendering was presented to the mayor and council. It showed four acres of enclosed green space with a separate area for small dogs and large dogs, an agility course, a pavilion, docks along the lake, walking trial and ample parking.
Also included were dog-washing stations, pooper-scooper stations and dog-friendly water fountains.
The design was donated by landscape architect Bob Mercier.
Dogs inside the park would be able to run and romp without a leash, providing people without yards a chance to properly exercise their pets.
“Every day at City Hall, we get complaints about dogs running loose,” said Mayor Jack Reed Jr. “If we have a place for the dogs to go, it’d be easier to enforce the city’s leash laws.”

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.