By Robert Connelly
The township park has seen more traffic recently as new offerings, such as a dog park, combined with renovations have more people interested in using the 212 public acres.
Sam Martauz, a Youngstown State University education major, said she has been bringing her 3-year-old chocolate lab to the half-acre dog park within the township park since last year. “It’s the best thing ever. I get home and he hits the tile. That’s the only reason I come out here,” she said.
Martauz added that she usually lets her dog, Luke, run for 45 minutes to an hour. She also said that she began walking her dog along some of the trails of the park, which she discovered after coming to the fenced-in dog park.
Todd Shaffer, township parks supervisor, said the dog park was built last fall, with $36,000 coming from the estate of Marjorie Hartman to go specifically toward a dog park. He said she was an Austintown resident and when the estate lawyer approached the township, it moved forward with the dog park.
“We had been thinking about it for a couple of years ... and thinking of a way to put it into the budget,” Shaffer said. He said the park is going to install a dog- washing station, and noted construction of a pavilion has finished, with Shaffer deciding between a gravel or concrete surface to be installed underneath it.
Shaffer said the washing station, primarily for using water to get mud and dirt off the animals, depends a lot on the weather for its installation. “I’d like to have it in by June,” he said.
Boardman resident Cliff Newman was happy to hear about a washing station for the pets to rinse off before entering a vehicle to go home. “It’s always been pretty muddy,” Newman said. He added he has a plastic cover on his back seat to avoid a mess.
“I only started coming for the dog park,” he said. Newman said he adopted his dog from the pound, a 3-year-old white American bulldog named Bud.
Shaffer also said park officials are hoping to have a drain in the park for a section that consistently has been muddy. He hopes for that to be done by early June as well.
Shaffer said there have been other additions and renovations to the park system in recent years. Those include recently finished updates to the Stacey Pavilion. People reserving the space have been pleasantly surprised by the upgrades, he noted.
“They love it because the old kitchen had a 1980s counter,” Shaffer said. He said park levy funds from 1984 paid for a new roof, interior painting, new linoleum floors, new carpet and a remodeled kitchen at the pavilion.