We have made huge strides thanks to all of your generous donations! While we are in the process of using the money raised so far to open the park, we are going to keep collecting to be able to add all the extras that will make this park awesome. We plan to add a shelter in the spring and would also like to fence off a small dog area within the park.
Our names are Jessica Kooistra (Kent County Animal Control Officer) and
Ryan TerBush, and we have been working to develop a new dog park here in Grand
Rapids. Currently, there are an
estimated 150,000 dogs within Kent County's borders. However, there are only five established dog
parks within those same borders, and only one of those (Hillcrest Dog Park "“
located on the NE side of the city) is located in the city limits of Grand
Rapids. Just by evaluating these
statistics, Grand Rapids is in need of another dog park, and we strongly
believe we have the perfect location in mind.
The Proposed Site
The proposed site for this new dog park is located on the northwest side
of the city. It is off of Covell Avenue,
but very near the high traffic intersection of Lake Michigan Dr. and Covell Avenue.
This site is ideal for numerous reasons:
It is already fenced in
There is already a paved parking lot
It is handicap accessible
There is already a paved ramp in place for trash
removal and the delivery of woodchips
The City's Support
In addition, the water department owns the land and has given Jim Arsulowicz
(Grand Rapids Director of Parks and Recreation) permission to use the premises
for a dog park. Jim and the rest of the
Park's Board Committee have been very supportive of this idea and have even
given us assurance that the city will maintain the trash of the property,
supply "doggie bags", and supply the woodchips for the park. They have also said that they would be able
to reallocate benches and picnic tables from other underutilized parks within
the city to this dog park.
However, to make this a functional dog park, there are a few
improvements that will need to be done. We
will need to install a front entrance gate as well as a concrete slab within
that front entrance gate. We will also need
an additional gate for the trash removal and delivery of woodchips. In order to post flyers for the Animal
Shelter and the Animal Control, we will need a kiosk as well. The estimated total cost between these two
gates, the concrete slab, and the kiosk will be roughly $4,000.
Our Primary Goal
The primary goal in regards to this donation is to make the dog park
official and functional. By installing
these improvements, we can do just that.
Once this dog park opens and grows in popularity, we believe the
community will become engaged in this park and in time, possibly provide other minor
improvements to the park such as building a shelter, implementing a "small dog
area", planting trees, etc. In other
words, our goal is to clear a path and get the ball rolling.
Although Jim and the rest of the Park's Board Committee have been tremendously supportive in this venture, the city simply does not have the funds to donate to this cause. By opening this dog park, we have the opportunity to provide for a better life for the dogs and dog owners of Grand Rapids.
We have no doubts that this dog park will flourish. We have talked to the neighbors of this
proposed site, including the adjacent Retirement Living Center, Grandview
Apartments, who are all overwhelmingly in support of this park. The Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation
Department is in support of this park. The
Kent County Animal Shelter is in support of this park. The Kent County Animal Control is in support
of this park. Friends of Grand Rapids Parks
is in support of this park. We also have
an enthusiastic group of Facebook followers who are ready to volunteer when
needed. All we need are the funds
mentioned above to make this park functional.
Any donation to reach our goal of $4,000 would be greatly appreciated. Please contact either one of us if you have
any questions, concerns, ideas, and/or would hopefully like to pursue this
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