The purpose of a dog park is manifold; its benefits far outreaching those of our canine companions alone. Not only does it simply establish a designated space where dogs can run and play off-leash, but it frees the fear responsible dog owners must have regarding their pets when in the current realm of our public parks.
A dog park provides a domain wherein both dogs and their owners alike can socialize and interact, who might not otherwise, in a manner not yet realized in our community and thus encourages the greater enjoyment of our park district’s spaces by all. Their mere presence alone has in recent years become an indelible sign of a healthy, vibrant community as they continue to pop up and expand across the country.
Having grown up in Bureau County we’ve seen the undeniable progress that has been made in Princeton over the past 15 years. While many similar small towns are struggling, Princeton has thrived through its engagement and commitment to its citizens and their needs.
From the small businesses in town that keep our Main Street districts alive and flourishing to the street concerts and events that continue to draw ever larger crowds, you can feel the energy, excitement and pride people now have living in this area.
Amenities such as dog parks are just another piece of the puzzle to attract more people to Princeton, including those of a younger generation whose interest are paramount for the future of this community.
Our initial presentation on Nov. 4, following hundreds of hours of commitment from those on this committee, was met with overwhelming support from the community, which continues to experience enthusiastic engagement on our Facebook page (Princeton Dog Park Friends).
The park district board has been wonderful in its support of our efforts, and we have been working with the district to approach this matter in both the best interests of the park district and the community as a whole.
While no proposal may ever be perfect, we see this endeavor as an exciting opportunity for the park to expand its outreach and growth while still maintaining its existing commitments to the community through its other services. The dog park committee’s proposal to shoulder all the upfront costs through initial fundraising, and annual fees from dog owners projected to cover the maintenance costs, we feel our proposal can both meet the wishes of the community without risking any ongoing or long-term financial burdens to the district and its board.
Ultimately we hope to have the dog park support itself, but if projections fall short, we have even offered raising reserve funds to help offset the deficit. We are not looking for taxpayers to foot the bill for this project.
The park district meets again this Monday at 5 p.m., and we hope to have more discussions about this exciting possibility. For those supporters out there or anyone that has questions or is interested in donating or volunteering to our cause, we encourage you to come to the meeting.
Chris Blanford, Princeton
Benjamin Fisher, Princeton
Note to readers: Chris Blanford and Benjamin Fisher are members of the Princeton Dog Park Friends.