The board decided to pursue $50,000 worth in grants — two grants worth $25,000 apiece — for a dog park. A conceptual design shows a 3.5-acre sprawl on the Rosenbaum property, the 19-acre slab of land that will house the new town garage on the west side of town.
The design shows the plot divided into two fenced-in areas, one for large dogs and one for small dogs, complete with water stations, shelters and wading pools.
One grant is from a national Bark for your Park program that is funded through the PetSafe program, which is managed by state Governor candidate Randy Boyd and his wife Jenny Boyd, and the other is a Tennessee Dog Park Dash grant funded by the Boyd Foundation, which Boyd also owns.
The town could garner a total of $50,000 in grants for the proposed park and would have three years to open the new park per the grant contract.
In an earlier interview with the Press about the grants, Boyd said he decided to start the grant program after starting a national campaign for dog parks called Bark for your Park in 2011.
After a few years with that program, Boyd said he noticed Tennessee cities weren’t getting many of the parks — only two of the 42 recipients in the past seven years were Tennessee cities.
So this year, the Boyds have piloted the Tennessee Dog Park Dash to give state cities an edge in helping to transform Tennessee into the most animal-friendly state.
“We want to give back to the state of Tennessee and we want to give back to the dogs,” Randy Boyd said.
For the next three years, the Boyd Foundation is committing $1 million each year to parks across the state, divided into 36 $25,000 grants awarded per year. The remaining $100,000 will be awarded as a grand prize.
While board members Terry Countermine, Adam Dickson and Virginia Causey were on board to apply for the grants, David Sell remained skeptical given the long list of projects that are already filling the town’s plate.
He also asked if it was a need for the town, and questioned how much a dog park would be used.
“I’m not against it, but I really don’t even feel like it needs to be in the equation right now,” Sell said before the vote. “Even though it’s $25,000, yeah it’s free money, but it’s not. Labor’s not free. We’re going to have maintenance, and to me it needs to be on the very back burner.
“I’d like to see us whittle down on all our projects.”
Mayor Chuck Vest suggested keeping an eye on the funding of the park and making sure the cost of it doesn’t exceed $30,000, depending on if the town gets awarded one grant or both. In response to Sell’s concerns, he said park maintenance is something that could possibly be bid out to lift some weight off of town employees’ shoulders.
Causey said she believed the park would get a lot of use from the community. Countermine pointed out that applying for the grant doesn’t mean the town is committed to the project, and said he believed the community may back the decision with donations if it came to it.
“People will reach in their pockets and pay for what they believe in,” he said.
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