• Jim Townsend

Local Dog Park Coming Close to Reality


Portland resident Joshua Hinds is leading an initiative to build a public dog park within the City of Portland.

Hinds originally took the idea to former Parks and Recreation Director Mary Scheurer. Hinds says, “I asked Mary about getting a dog park in passing one day and she called me a few weeks later to come up with a dog park proposal. I went to Menards to get an estimate on fencing materials and I submitted it to the parks and rec board. They approved it and the proposal went to city Council after that. A few weeks later, I attended a city Council meeting and it was approved. This all happened approximately five years ago.”

Hinds said that, “The fencing estimate was just shy of $5000.”

According to City Manager Tutt Gorman, “In 2014 the City Council approved Mr. Hinds to raise funds specifically for the fencing related to the dog park with volunteers to construct.” Gorman said that was approved in resolution 14-10.

Since that time, Hinds and supporters have had multiple fundraisers. The City is holding those funds collected so far on behalf of the organizers. Gorman said, “According to the City treasurer the current balance is $3,782.82. There was an approximate 307.00 expenditure for t-shirts, etc. for a fundraising event.”

Hinds said that as of the April statement, “We have $4090 in our account.”

When asked The big consideration is to allow the usage of City property which essentially belongs to the taxpayers. With any concept or proposal concerning public property, the City is required to ensure the private investment (financial, labor, volunteers, ongoing maintenance, etc.) is sufficient so not to overburden already limited City resources and protect public property. Private/public partnerships can very successful, such as the Red Mill Pavilion Project. The Dog Park Organizers and the Parks Board will need to further identify and budget for any additional costs beyond the fence material, discuss ongoing maintenance and liabilities.”

When asked for a timeframe for the actual construction of the park, Hinds said, “Not sure. All depends on how much the community helps with the installation of fencing and the time of year.”

The tentative location of the dog park has changed over the life of this project. Hinds said the original idea was for Thompson field, but has since moved to the Bogue Flats, and not to a tentative final location at Community Lake Park.

When asked if there was any other information he would like to share with readers about this dog park initiative, City Manager Gorman said, “The City is always appreciative of our community volunteers and excited about facilitating successful private-public partnerships!”

Hinds added, “We are close to the $5000 and I think it will be an enjoyable park when it’s finished but we still need more Volunteers from the dog supporter community with fundraisers and the Construction of the park once funds are raised. We are having a dog park meeting at the Portland library June 13th at 6:30 pm in the community room.”

If you would like to help the dog park organizers reach their fundraising goal, Hinds said, “People can write a check to the City of Portland and right dog park in the memo box. They also can stop by City Hall during normal business hours to donate money. The city also has a drop box through the drive-through so people can donate after hours.”

For more information on the project, please visit the Facebook page “Our Dog Park Portland Michigan” or email ourdogpark@gmail.com.

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