When will the new eastern dog park be open?
Short answer: Whenever it is fully fenced. When it is fully fenced depends on when we have enough volunteers to help get it finished. We have 400 feet of chain link fence fabric installed and 1400 feet remain.
Long answer: The City of Duluth does not build our dog parks. They are planned, funded and built primarily through volunteer efforts. When the eastern dog park was approved we planned to put up less expensive woven field fencing since chain link fencing is so expensive. We simply did not have the money or desire to fund raise for the approximately $60,000 it would cost to put up 1800 feet of fencing for the perimeter, entry, walk through gates and service gates.
We had to wait until the driveway and gravel parking area was completed before we could start the fencing project. While that was happening we were offered several thousand feet of heavy commercial grade chain link fencing from the new owner of the Morgan Park High School. The down side was that it was currently installed and we would have to remove it and haul it to the new location. We would also have to install it. Dismantling and installing the used fencing and posts would need to be done with volunteers if we went this route. No fencing contractor would consider installing our used fencing that contained several different sizes and styles since it had been added to over time. After looking at the fencing, we thought about it and decided that we would use the used/re-purposed fencing since we would have better quality, more durable, higher grade fencing compared to the originally planned woven field fencing. And it would be vastly less expensive, even compared to woven field fencing.
Once that decision was made we were relying on volunteers to make the new dog park happen. Yes, we (foolishly?) decided we would put up 1800 feet of commercial grade chain link fencing with no training whatsoever.
We have had a variety of work days over the past 8 months to remove and relocate the fencing and posts from both Morgan Park school and Kylmala Truss (where we dismantled and removed and additional 500 feet of fencing and posts.) Volunteers have dug holes, pounded posts by hand and by air compressor powered pounder, mixed and poured cement (one bag at a time), moved posts and top rails into position, provided lunches and snacks, mounted and installed top rails, measured and marked post lengths, and a variety of other small but necessary jobs. We have also laughed, shared break times and lunch breaks, cool beverages, problem solved, shared stories, and gotten to know new people. We have shared a great sense of accomplishment as this park is literally created from nothing, one post at a time. The volunteers have ranged in age from middle school to 72 years old. A 3.5 acre fenced, off leash area is rising from an empty field, through the many, many hours of volunteer effort, none trained in fencing installation, with people learning new things each step of the way.
We now see the end in site but need more people to help. We only need three people and a couple of hours to put up each 100 foot section of fencing. We put up 400 feet of fencing over two days with 3 volunteers (two retirees from the medical field and a chef who could only use one hand due to recent surgery) besides my husband and myself. Any time there are three people willing to help, we can put up fencing. With three people we can put up a 100 foot section of fencing in about two hours. If you only have yourself or one other person available, we can still use the help for other jobs or we can look for other people to help when you are available. We can do fence work mornings, afternoons, or evenings, weekdays or weekends, just let us know when you have time available and we can make a work date.
Please consider helping this important effort. Look at your calendars, let us know when you and/or any friends/family have a couple hours of free time and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. If you only have yourself or one other person available, we can still use the help for other jobs or can look for other people to help when you are available.
The new dog park won't get built, it won't open, until we have the fence installed by volunteers like yourself. Thank you for considering helping build the new dog park.