Local dog owners likely only have a few more months to wait before they can bring their pets to a new dog park area planned for Sherman’s Fairview Park.
Parks and Recreation Manager Theresa Hutchinson recently told the Sherman City Council she expects the new dog park area could be ready before the end of the year.
“We’ve been working with Animal Services to come up with some guidelines, set up some rules and policies and procedures,” Hutchinson said of the city department that provides emergency assistance with animal problems and oversees the Sherman Animal Shelter. “But we do anticipate having this installed sometime in the fall.”
Council member Shawn Teamann praised the selection of Fairview Park for the dog park, noting it’s central location in Sherman should make it easy to get to for people throughout the city.
“I think that the location is an ideal location because it’s property that we already own and it’s really not being utilized right now,” Teamann said.
Hutchinson said the city has earmarked around $30,000 for the work, but recently received fencing quotes for the exterior of the dog park area that were higher than city staff anticipated they would be. To help deal with that, Hutchinson said the city is also exploring other options for additional funding.
“We’re trying to get some new fencing, but also looking at some other cost savings, so we can continue with this project,” Hutchinson said. “We’ve researched grant opportunities, as well as sponsorship opportunities for people. In other cities, they have brick programs where you buy a brick in honor of your pet. And we all know people just love to spend money on their animals. We feel like that would be a good opportunity, but I feel like we have to get the initial project on the ground so that people will buy into it more.”
The Parks and Recreation Department manager said the dog park area, which will be near Veterans Field and the back parking lot at Fairview Park, will have separate areas designated for larger dogs and smaller dogs.
“We’re looking at a 30 pound differentiating mark for big dogs and small dogs,” Hutchinson said. “Each area will have fencing, it’ll have a transition area and it’ll also have a fountain, as well as benches and other amenities that we can implement.”
The dog park was one of the priorities identified in the 2017 Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan, which was compiled following public input meetings held in 2016.
“For me, it’s exciting to see the entire process where you have citizens come to these meetings — where the Parks and Rec (Department) have hosted an open forum to allow people to express their opinions,” Teamann said. “The priorities of what the citizens express in those meetings are actual happening and coming to Sherman.”
Teamann said he believes plans for the dog park are “heading in the right direction.”
“Those dog parks have seemed to become more and more popular in the more recent years,” Teamann said. “As things change, with outdoor activities, we have to be able to adapt and provide what the citizens are wanting at that time. It’s just another one of those things that help allow families to get out and be active together and give them a place where they can go and it’s a safe environment. And it’s just one more item that they can do as a family to get outdoors and to enjoy our community.”