Getting ready for visitors. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Every dog has its day, and soon its own park in Eastpointe. Or at least it will once the park is built.
Construction of the 500-by-80-feet park on the grounds of the city’s Memorial Park started a couple of weeks ago with the installation of poles for chain-link fencing.
John Marion, vice president of the Michigan Dog Owners Group, which is behind the park, said the fences and gates could be up by the end of this week.
“You’re going to be able to get the biggest dog in there, tell him, ‘OK, boy, go run down to the other end and come back,’ and he’ll be tired,” said Marion, 57.
Once done, Eastpointe will join nearby communities like Clinton Township, Grosse Pointe Woods, Mount Clemens, St. Clair Shores and Warren with special parks for man’s best friend.
Marion, a 27-year Eastpointe resident, also said the group plans to continue fundraising to add an electronic entry system and water feature to the puppy playground.
“Dogs need exercise just like people do,” Marion said. “And they need a place to do it.”
Eastpointe has strict rules for dogs. Laws require owners to license their dogs, limit the number of dogs at a residence to two and prohibit dogs from being off-leash off the property. The city also bans vicious dogs. Violations are misdemeanors punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
City officials praised the dog park project.
“I think it’ll be a very nice feature,” said Steve Duchane, Eastpointe city manager. “I think it’s a quality-of-life amenity.”
It gives dogs a place to exercise without disturbing other people or property, he said. “It just gives dog owners a chance to get outdoors without having to worry.”
Duchane also said the dog park is a great example of how residents can work together with city government to make something happen. In this case, MiDOG is covering most of the cost of the park, and the city put up the land.
MiDOG has been working on the $25,000 project for years, and its members have raised more than half of the amount, allowing incremental construction based on money available.
“They’ve done a tremendous job raising the money to pay for the facility and get it installed,” Duchane said.
Marion, who formed MiDOG with a handful of other Eastpointe residents about eight years ago, said fencing was the biggest allocation, about $14,000.
As soon as the group collects more money, it’ll purchase an electronic security pass system, he said. The system will require users to buy permits, which prove their dogs are licensed and have necessary immunizations, he said.
The proposed fee for an annual pass will be between $18-$22, Marion said. Pass fees will help cover the cost of maintaining the park.
Once completed, it will be open to dog owners who live in Eastpointe and Roseville, he said. Dog owners from other communities are welcome, but will be charged a higher fee for a pass.
MiDOG also envisions adding a water feature for dogs and a drinking fountain for their owners.
“We have the room and that would be such an amenity,” Marion said. “We hope we can do it sometime down the road.”