East-side bark park?

In the making for 25 dog years, the city of Grand Haven could soon be letting the leash off its fenced dog park project at East Grand River Park.
Alex Doty
Jun 16, 2012

The city's 2012-13 fiscal year budget includes $10,000 for a dog park, and downtown business owner Tonya Christiansen is working to match that amount. Any funds that go over would be used for other amenities at the site.

City Special Project Manager Julie Beaton said she did an analysis of Ottawa County’s dog registrations and found that the park would fit in well in the community. She said one in five Grand Haven homes have a dog, according to 2010 county numbers.

“That’s a pretty high percentage of people that have that in common, over skateboarding or owning a boat,” Beaton said.

Steve Rauschert, a member of the city's Parks and Recreation Board, said he's looking forward to the east-side dog park

“We’re getting close to the finish line, so it will be nice to get that in place,” he said. “We’re putting the pedal to the floor and we’re going to get this done.”

Rauschert said Christiansen has been fundraising for three years to help pay for the park.

“She is tenacious," he said. "I think many people would’ve lost heart by now."

Christiansen said she works seven days a week, 11 hours a day at her store, Must Love Dogs.

“It is hard to do the fundraising when I am running a business,” she said. “I feel bad because I haven’t been able to do more of it. ... I am probably at $6,500 right now."

Christiansen said fundraising for the project would be easier if the city would commit to the project.

“If the city would commit, we would sell bricks” as a fundraiser, she said.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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