Canine lovers say Strasburg dog park back on track

Dog lovers in Strasburg say the effort to build a park for their canine friends remains strong.

The Strasburg Dog Owners Group continues to raise money to build a park on land in the town park near the tennis courts. The group formed several years ago with a goal of building the park. Council already has agreed to let them use the land.

Town Council’s Public Safety and Recreation Committee meets May 19 to hear from the group and to discuss the project, Melissa Miller, the organization’s vice president said Thursday.

“Hopefully we can get a lot of things resolved and everybody on the same page and that way we can move forward,” Miller said.

The group has collected between $4,000-$5,000 for the project. They need another $2,000 to build a basic park for small and large dogs, Miller said.

“Basically, I would say we’re about half way [to] what we need to break ground and, this a big question mark, but we’re hoping to have the rest by the end of this year and, hopefully – that’s a big hopefully – be able to break ground maybe next summer,” Miller said.

The group ran into a few snags along the way and the project has been on hold, Miller said.

“We’ve run into some hurdles but I don’t want to place blame on anybody because I don’t want anything bad coming back on us,” Miller said.

The group’s activity slowed down when President Lee Newman, a veterinarian who helped form the organization, became ill. Miller took on some of the leadership duties in the past year but she, too, became ill earlier this year. Now that she’s recovering, Miller said the work continues to move forward. She’s also had to go on social media to remind area dog owners that the project is still in sight. Miller said that eased the minds of many of the people following the group’s efforts.

The group had drafted a memorandum of understanding last spring as recommended by the committee that outlined the responsibilities of the organization and the town. The memorandum apparently did not get forwarded to the committee, Miller said.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Wyatt Pearson, who joined the town in December, has been helping the group to put the effort back on track, Miller said.

The organization needs either a memorandum of agreement or a zoning permit approved by Town Council to move forward, Pearson said Thursday. Town officials and the dog owners group still need to determine who has responsibility for taking care of the park, a construction timeline and the facility’s dedication to the town, Pearson explained.

Miller said she’s hoping the group can receive the necessary approvals to move forward because she wants to hold fundraisers this summer and later this year.

“We’re hoping that once we can get the basic [park] up then we can hold better fundraisers and activities and stuff, and then raise additional funds to maybe add this or add that, improve it,” Miller said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com