KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Dog Park has a new name, a new logo and will be opening its gate to dogs, both big and small, in the coming months.
For more than a year the city and a volunteer committee has been working to build a 2.5 acre dog park — an off-leash, fenced recreation area where dogs may legally run, play and socialize with other dogs.
The committee worked for more than a year on researching and developing the dog park, choosing a site behind left field at Hunter Wright Stadium, drafting rules, policies and a fee schedule for the park, and coming up with a logo and name (Kingsport Dogwood Park) to help promote the new park.
Kitty Frazier, parks and recreation director, said work performed at the site has included, clearing the land, grading and excavation work and the paving of a trail and creating a few parking spaces.
Some landscaping seeding has been done as well, but additional work will need to be done, she said.
“The next step on the construction is we’re just waiting on the fence to be installed. We’ve issued the order and it is just a matter of when (the company) finally gets (the material in) and gets it done,” said Frazier.
She said the fence company is expected to receive the fence material in two weeks and that installation would take three to four days to complete.
“Then we need power to the site so we can run the gate closure, the key card system and some dress-up landscaping and we’re good to go,” she said. “Except for the fencing and the power, everything is done at the dog park.”
Kingsport’s dog park will be divided into two sections — a 2-acre section for larger dogs and a half-acre section for small and old dogs.
The city is not proposing an obstacle course for the park at this time. The park will have a vinyl-coated 6-foot fence around the perimeter and a double-gate, key-card entry system.
The park will include a few trash cans and benches, with plans to add more as funding becomes available. Kingsport would like to look at adding a small gazebo, shelter or gathering place inside the park for visitors.
There will be no restroom at this time. Instead, portables will be used. In addition, there will not be water fountains at the dog park.
“It’s not in the budget at this point, so that’s something hopefully the committee can raise some money for,” Frazier said, noting the cost to run a water line to the site would be around $14,000.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen earmarked $40,000 toward the project, but initial cost estimates put the price tag for the park at around $50,000. Frazier said the city is still on budget to meet the $40,000 figure.
The volunteer committee is close to finishing the application paperwork for when people register their dogs for the park and is working to become an official dog park association with tax exempt status, which Frazier said could allow the group to raise money for future projects at the dog park.
Frazier said she does not have a firm date on when the dog park would open, but said the city would publicize the event.
“My game plan is to be open by the end of the year,” she said.
The volunteer committee and the Kingsport Parks and Recreation Department looked at dog parks around the country, researched the topic online and in books, and relied on Johnson City for help and advice. Johnson City has had a dog park for several years and is considering building another one.
The cost for city residents to join the dog park is $20 for the first dog and $10 for each additional dog. Non-city residents will pay $5 more. The cost to replace the key card is $10 and to replace the dog park tag is $5.
Eighteen rules will govern the dog park, including:
•All dogs must be four months old or older, healthy and have current vaccinations. Dogs in heat are not allowed in the park .
•Owners must clean up after their dogs and are responsible for the actions of their dogs.
•A maximum of two dogs per owner are allowed in the park at any given time.
•Dog handlers must be at least 16 years old, and children 11 years old and under are not allowed in the park.
•Food, alcoholic beverages, smoking, glass containers, bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades and strollers are not allowed in the park .
The ordinance states violations of the rules and policies may result in the forfeiture of rights to use the dog park, fines or other penalties.