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Published: Monday, 10/15/2012

Plans for dog park at site of former Y still up in air

BY KELLY McCLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Canada Geese inhabit the former YMCA site next to Woodsdale Park in Toledo. Members of the Toledo Unleashed group are working on an agreement with the city to put a dog park there. Canada Geese inhabit the former YMCA site next to Woodsdale Park in Toledo. Members of the Toledo Unleashed group are working on an agreement with the city to put a dog park there.
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The land where the for­mer South Toledo YMCA branch once sat soon could see more ac­tion. It’s been nearly two years since the YMCA & JCC of Greater Toledo de­mol­ished the branch next to Woods­dale Park and res­i­dents had been frus­trated this sum­mer about a lack of prog­ress in repur­pos­ing the land.

But ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist Rob Tho­mas, things are start­ing to move. The YMCA has for­mal­ized an agree­ment to trans­fer the prop­erty to the City of Toledo.

“As part of fi­nal­iz­ing the agree­ment the city re­quested re­seed­ing ar­eas of the prop­erty, trim­ming some of the bushes, and mow­ing. Our con­trac­tor has com­pleted these tasks,” the state­ment said.

Toledo Un­leashed, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that aims to pro­mote op­por­tu­ni­ties for dogs to so­cial­ize and to be safely off their leashes in the Toledo area, has been shar­ing its plans with the YMCA to build a dog park on the same site.

But while the YMCA con­tin­ues to work with the City of Toledo to ap­pro­pri­ately tran­si­tion the prop­erty, Toledo Un­leashed board Pres­i­dent Tina Yop­polo said fund­ing re­mains an is­sue.

Syl­va­nia Recre­ation board mem­ber Jack Spiess spear­headed the first an­nual “Jack’s Pooch Plunge,” event in early Sep­tem­ber to raise funds to help make the dog park a re­al­ity. The event was started in mem­ory of Mr. Spiess’ father, Jack, who passed away in June, 2011. Hosted at Syl­va­nia’s Plum­mer Pool, the event brought out many pet own­ers, at the price of $5 per dog, who shared with Mr. Spiess their in­ter­est in a com­mu­nity dog park.

He said that many peo­ple who move to the area and hear that there isn’t al­ready an es­tab­lished dog park are let down.

“They’re sur­prised and dis­ap­pointed that we don’t have one,” he said. Mr. Spiess said $1,010 was raised dur­ing the Pooch Plunge and will be do­nated to Toledo Un­leashed for the pur­pose of help­ing to fund the park.

The park will be on four acres of land and there are plans to have a large dog area and a small dog area sep­a­rated. There will be a fence in the fa­cil­ity and a se­cu­rity gate. Fu­ture im­prove­ments, Ms. Yop­polo said, might in­clude drink­ing foun­tains. She said she an­tic­i­pates pa­trons’ mem­ber­ship rate be­ing around $35 per year.

But time will tell whether the plans will be able to work and whether the fund­ing will come through.

To learn more about do­nat­ing to the dog park fund, visit to­le­doun­leashed.org.



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