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Published: Thursday, 6/27/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Bell to sign lease for city dog park

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell is prepared to sign a lease agreement between the city and a group that plans to open a dog park.

Toledo Unleashed has submitted an application for a special use permit and the city has sent the group a draft lease permit for a four-acre parcel at the site of the old South Toledo YMCA in Woodsdale Park.

The group meets Friday with the city Department of Public Service’s division of parks, recreation, and forestry to look over the lease and facilitate the signing, city spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei said.

“The mayor would really like to see the park happen,” Ms. Sorgenfrei said. “It you look at cities all over the country, everyone has dog parks. Cincinnati has three.”

The special use permit request, which is different from the lease request, would go before the city’s planning commission Aug. 8 and then proceed to council’s zoning and planning committee Sept. 11.

“The item may be forwarded to council at the next regular meeting following the zoning and planning committee hearing,” Ms. Sorgenfrei said.

Efforts for a dog park date to at least 2009, said Toledo Unleashed President Tina Yoppolo. Previously the dog park was proposed for Ottawa Park and that park’s board decided against it.

The current location is a standalone piece of city property, which the city would lease to the group for $5 for five years.

Ms. Yoppolo, a retired second-grade teacher, said the group has hired an architect and is moving ahead on a site plan in anticipation of city approval of the special use permit request. The dog park is to consist of two separate fenced areas for small and large dogs, she said. Each area will have benches and trash receptacles and they will share a restroom facility.

Starting next week, the group will take donations on its Web site at ToledoUnleashed.org. The group plans to pay for the building of the park, projected to cost about $65,000, through donations, Ms. Yoppolo said.

Once the park is closer to opening, the group will sell memberships to dog owners who want to use the park. The price is still being discussed but will likely range from $35 to $50 per dog annually, she said.

The funds will be used for maintenance including electricity and water for the restrooms, cleaning restrooms, mowing grass, and trash removal. Excess funds will be used to purchase dog-oriented playground equipment for the park, she said.

“If we get financial backing from some major backers, then we can lower the price,” Ms. Yoppolo said.

All dogs using the park must be licensed, up to date on vaccinations, and have a yearly negative fecal test. They also must be spayed or neutered, she said.

Toledo Unleashed has a seven-member board working on park plans, she said.

“I think it’s a shame we don’t have a dog park,” Ms. Yoppolo said. “Defiance and Findlay and Bowling Green all have dog parks and we don’t. We are probably the biggest city in Ohio without a dog park.”

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com, 419-724-6066, or on Twitter @TanyaIrwin.



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