By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – It took years of dogged effort to arrive at today’s grand opening of Tupelo’s first dedicated park for pets.
The park, whose name will be revealed during the celebration, occupies a 1.5-acre tract of land north of the Eastwood Softball Complex on Veterans Boulevard. People and pups alike are invited to usher in its existence during four hours of festivities including a dog costume contest and park naming contest.
Among the competing names are the Tupelo Bark Park and the Tupelo Hound Dog Park.
“People love their dogs, and they’ve been waiting for this for awhile,” said Tupelo Parks and Recreation Program Director Shanta Eiland. “I’m just excited to see it come to life.”
Planning for the park began three years ago but had stalled for lack of funding and leadership. 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 was enough to develop the park, said Tupelo Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis.
Construction began this year.
The park features a spacious parking lot, shaded pavilion, sidewalk, a water fountain for people and pets, as well as a washing station. It also has two, separate fenced-in areas: one for large dogs, one for small.
Each area contains trees, a fire hydrant, overhead lighting, benches and a waste disposal station with free plastic bags. 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.
Park hours will be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and there is no admission. Future plans call for an agility course when more funds become available.
What: Tupelo Dog Park Grand Opening
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today
Where: North of the Eastwood Softball Complex on Veterans Boulevard Activities: Doggy Costume Contest; TPD K9 Unit Demo; Canine Training Session Demo; Ticks, Fleas, and Heartworm Educational Session; All Natural Pet & Home Booth; Vaccination/Micro chipping Booth; Dog House Pantry Booth; “Name that Dog Park” Contest
Cost: $5 donation per dog; humans get in free
Proceeds from grand opening fund the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society