Tupelo welcomes ideas for dog park

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Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Joe Sheffield closes the gate to the Tupelo Bark Park as he and his pug, Bubba, get ready to head back to their home in Mooreville. The pair try to use the park as much as possible when visiting Tupelo.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Joe Sheffield closes the gate to the Tupelo Bark Park as he and his pug, Bubba, get ready to head back to their home in Mooreville. The pair try to use the park as much as possible when visiting Tupelo.

Share ideas to improve the Tupelo Bark Park by emailing shanta.eiland@tupeloms.gov or calling (662) 841-6440.

By Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Parks and Recreation leaders plan to offer a welcome treat to pets and owners at the city’s dog park.

Director Alex Farned wants the canine-loving public to dream bigger than a regular bone after committing to enhance the Tupelo Bark Park. The new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 will likely include the first city improvements to the 1.5-acre park since opening two years ago.

The public commitment to enhance the park arrives without a dollar amount or specific concept. Farned recently told the Daily Journal details will unfold after offering dog lovers time to create a wish list for the east Tupelo facility.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Pug Bubba Sheffield plays in the Bark Park on Veterans Boulevard on Thursday with his owner Joe Sheffield.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Pug Bubba Sheffield plays in the Bark Park on Veterans Boulevard on Thursday with his owner Joe Sheffield.

“We’re not going to be able to do everything,” Farned said. “But it gives us a starting point.”

The city keeps little data on how many dogs use the park as place to meet and chase new friends in both a small dog area and large dog area. However, the dog park is a meeting spot for people in Tupelo, surrounding communities and those traveling through the state with their pet.

Farned declined to say when improvements would be announced but encouraged the public to provide ideas. Parks and Recreation and other city staff could complete some projects, while others could involve outside resources.

Some extras and perks can include doggie waterfalls, shaded seating and picnic tables for people. Other additions, however, have low costs but require time and planning.

“It’s an important thing for us,” he said.

Animal behaviorist Harrison Forbes of Jackson, Tennessee, visited Tupelo with trained dogs before becoming a celebrity pet expert years ago. A guest for pet segments like the “Today Show” and “The View,” Forbes said desirable dog parks have turned into an amenity many pet owners expect when considering moving to a new city.

“Many successful dog parks have networking events just like professional organizations,” Forbes said.

Animal lover Summer Knight, who organized fundraisers to help fund the park, welcomes the idea of adding more and has a goal in mind.

“I want to make Tupelo so good no pet wants to leave,” she said.

robbie.ward@journalinc.com