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Paws Town to open in August

Published: Fri, July 12, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.




A $26,500 fence surrounds 3.25 acres just off Southern Boulevard, adjacent to an entrance to Boardman Park.

A sign that reads “Coming soon, Marge Hartman’s Paws Town at Boardman Park” is just north of the land.

Officials are optimistic a grand opening could happen in late August at Paws Town, a dog park in the works since 2009.

Jason Loree, township administrator and co-founder of the dog park, said weather has played a key role in delays.

“Every time we go out, and we try to do some work, it’s rained on us,” Loree said. “This has been the curse of the dog park.”

Water lines — for fountains and a dog wash — have been installed, but Loree said one day of fair weather is needed to install and hook the fountains and dog wash to the existing lines.

The final step would be installing an electronic gate system, but Loree said that phase wouldn’t delay the park’s opening.

In the meantime, if the gate system is not prepared, identification cards would be given to people registered for the dog park.

“It’s all for liability purposes,” Loree said. “Once that happens, the only thing we’re waiting on is the landscaping.”

About 15 community volunteers have been working over the years to make it a reality, and that’s another issue, Loree said.

“They all have full-time jobs,” he said. Of “that group, only so many can do so many things within a certain day.”

Dan Slagle Jr., Boardman Park executive director, said it’s important to realize that this project — like every project that has been completed in the park — is funded through donations and grants.

“We just don’t have the money to go out and build these projects. We have to wait patiently,” Slagle said.

Construction for the site was completed in July 2011, and Austintown Fence installed a black, vinyl coated chain-link fence about a month ago.

Slagle said all 10,000 cubic yards of dirt needed to grade the land was donated. Once the dirt arrived, the park board had to work with contractors and their schedules because they also leveled the dirt at no additional cost, he added.

Loree said he and his wife called the initial 2009 meeting to talk about bringing a dog park to the township. After much enthusiasm, a second meeting was scheduled to determine the needed steps and how to fund them.

Nonprofit status was the best solution, Loree said, and “Friends of Paws Town at Boardman Park, Inc.” was founded in 2010.

About $40,000 was raised by the community and several local businesses through 2011.

As the idea was publicized, interest for the project increased. Donations continued to pour in, including a $60,000 grant from the Marjorie Hartman Family Foundation. The park was named after Marge Hartman, a local animal lover, in September 2011.

The nonprofit organization raised $9,404 in contributions, grants and gifts in 2010 and $97,983 in 2011, according to its 2011 501(c) form that was filed on Nov. 19, 2012, for a total of $107,387. That money was raised for the construction of the site and was 100 percent donated, Loree said, and is controlled by the park’s board and not the township.

“The township has given no dollars,” Loree said. “They’re not involved at all.”

Paula Geidner, project treasurer, said it is on target financially. The current total construction cost is about $78,000.

“We estimate that our remaining funds, $24,625, will be sufficient to pay for the water lines to the fountains, electrical and landscaping,” Geidner said in an email.

Once the project is finished, a $100 annual membership for nonresidents and $50 for residents will be charged, Loree said. They will each receive a swipe card to operate the gate. That money will go back to Boardman Park to maintain the dog park, he added.

“I want to make sure this gets done right,” Loree said. “People are probably wondering, ‘where’s this dog park at, why isn’t it opened yet?,’ but it’s all based on time, availability and weather.”


1polhack(129 comments)posted 3 years ago

I applaud the volunteer effort, but I wonder where the money went. Nearly $108,000 in donations and the only expenses appear to be $27,000 for a fence. Is trenching and installation for water and electric and grass seeding really a $80,000 project?

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2RoddAC(102 comments)posted 3 years ago

@bornhere - Where is it mentioned that there was a charge? Only thing is registering for liability issues. We are such a sue happy society that, unfortunately, this is necessary. Chill out and appreciate something good.

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3UrbanBuckeye(23 comments)posted 3 years ago

READ!!! Don't skim "Once the project is finished, a $100 annual membership for nonresidents and $50 for residents will be charged, Loree said. They will each receive a swipe card to operate the gate. That money will go back to Boardman Park to maintain the dog park, he added."

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4UrbanBuckeye(23 comments)posted 3 years ago

What's next? Daily use fees at Boardman Park. Will the dog park be open during Oktoberfest? I'd like to see the receipts of the money the Park receives from Rotary to use the entire park for the whole weekend.

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5oldone(15 comments)posted 3 years ago

RMy question is simple. Through the grapevine I have heard I that the "resident" classification is for Boardman residents only. If that is true, it will be an empty space because of rain, mud and snow at an unreasonable cost.
As to liability, it is simple to make every participant sign a liability waiver "play at your own risk"
That alone could cut the ridiculous idea of having a user fee at least in half. I personally believe that like the rest of the country, there should be no fee. As long as I have waited for this, I now understand that Austintown has a very nice park for free!!

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6chequepoint(1 comment)posted 3 years ago

It is unacceptable for this park to be on taxpayer land, yet "Pay to play". This community has several thriving dog play areas / daycares. If Mosquito Lake in warren can operate that stunning facility to the public for free, then Boardman should be able to provide a fenced in patch of grass for the same. This project has taken too long, and is now being run like a private business? Seems like a scam to me. I regret every dollar I donated and won't support this facility.

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7BackInYtown(3 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Not trying to be rude here, but how on earth does it cost $100,000 to put a fence around some yard space? Like honestly what on earth costs so much? They keep saying "construction," but constructing of what?

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8carolann(1 comment)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Hi oldone, Austintown does have a dog park, but don't go there unless you like dog crap. I was there 4 weeks ago and had to leave because of so much dog messes. People there just don't clean up after their dogs. I agree about the fee, if there was something special about this park I'd gladly pay, but I haven't seen it yet. In fact, when it rains it's going to be one huge mud hole. No trees, no shade and a long walk from the parking lot to the lrg. dog area. Don't think I'll be going there to often.

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9mulshopper(2 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Do these other area dog parks require you to produce proof of the dogs shots, etc.? I am glad that Pawstown is making sure that my dog is interacting with healthy dogs. I have no problem with the fee. Jason Loree and the rest of the board has done a lot of work to make this park possible. I'm sure they aren't finished with the landscaping, etc. It will be beautiful when it is completely finished but for now, the park is for the dogs and they really only care about being off leash and playing with other dogs. Our dog is too old to run with the other dogs but she is happy to sniff the perimeter of the park, leash free, sniffing some butts, trying to run with the other pooches and approaching people there to be petted. I will be registering her today for her membership. No one is making anyone belong, so if you don't like it, just go somewhere else. I have been taking my dog to Boardman Park for walks for years and this is an added joy for her. Thank you Pawstown for making the park safe and insist that the dogs are healthy. As for Octoberfest, if the dog park does close for one day, the dogs will survive.

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