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Sullivan County submits grant request for dog park

J. H. Osborne • Updated Jun 14, 2018 at 8:40 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable signed paperwork Wednesday seeking a grant to build a dog park in Blountville.

The dog park will be between two and five acres, depending on how much money the county receives if the grant application is successful. It would be located on an 80-acre parcel of county-owned land near the current Sullivan County Animal Shelter and would be open for use by all county residents for no charge.

It would also be available to travelers on Interstate 81. The location is remote, but is accessible by taking Highway 394 from Exit 69 toward the Blountville Historic District and taking two left turns.

“I have no doubt we would have good local usage of the park,” Venable said. “And I think it would set Blountville apart as a pet-friendly stop for drivers entering the state on I-81. It is remote. But not too remote with proper signage to lead the way.”

The Boyd Foundation (guided by Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd) is donating $1 million to build and enhance dog parks in communities across the Volunteer State. The program — dubbed the Dog Park Dash — will award $900,000 evenly across the state’s three divisions. In the first year of the three-year initiative, the program will fund 36 dog parks. And Sullivan County hopes to get one of the grants awarded this year. The deadline for submitting grant applications is June 20 and recipients will be announced next month.

The range of the grants is from $25,000 to $100,000. If the county receives a grant, the amount will determine how much development can occur to get the park started. The biggest cost would be for fencing.

The county’s animal shelter page on the county’s website includes a plea (which has been shared on independently operated social media pages as well) asking for very simple support from the public.

The grant requires a show of community support, so if you want to help Sullivan County get money to build a community dog park, send an email to dogpark@sullivancountytn.gov stating your support and why this would be of value to you and Sullivan County. The responses will be cited in the county’s final submission for the grant.

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