Dog park a possibility

STERLING – Thomas may go to the .

A few months ago, residents approached the Sterling about the of a dog park. The district, in response, formed a committee to look at the idea.

Now, the underused northern part of Thomas Park is under consideration. The park, along Lynn Boulevard, would be a place where people could let their dogs run without leashes, which isn't not allowed at other parks.

The committee has launched a fundraising plan for the dog park. Officials say improvements to Thomas Park could cost $ 150,000 to $ 200,000 – $ 70,000 of which would go for fencing.

Dixon has a dog park, called Park 4 Paws, just east of Washington Avenue. It had been restricted to fee payers, but the park district recently opened it for everyone. 

In a glossy brochure, the Sterling district's conceptual plan for the dog park includes a pond, a dog hill, an agility course, and areas for small and dogs. It would be called the Sterling Bark Park, with the motto, “where a dog can be a dog.” 

“Some dog parks are fields and fences,” said Larry Schuldt, the park district's executive director. “There's not much reason to take your dog there. It's a place to take your dog to run, but it's not much of an attraction. If we're going to do it, let's do it right. Let's make it fun for the dog and the dog owner, but all those fancy things cost money.”

The district wants to make sure residents are serious about their support, Schuldt said. About 500 people have signed a petition in favor. 

“They probably would like it if someone else paid for it, but the question is how bad do they want it,” Schuldt said. “There may be some small funds from the park district to help. Everything we'll do will be on the back end.”

At Monday's park district board meeting, member Jennifer Zuithoff questioned whether a dog park would bother nearby residents.

Schuldt said some residents may have a not-in-my-backyard reaction, but they would soon find the dog park was not a problem.

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