Group gathers to boost effort for dog park

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) About 10 people gathered on a soggy strip of spruce bog over the weekend to discuss efforts to put a dog park on 20 acres of public land in Fairbanks.

The dog park, six years in the making, is far from a reality. But supporters remain determined, with some of them gathering to buoy their enthusiasm and evaluate the park's progress.

''I wanted to see where it was going to be and what it was going to be like,'' said Aimee Mortemore, who was among the group.

Veronica Belton was on hand Saturday with her 2-year-old caramel-colored Labrador-collie mix, Sadie. Belton envisions a parking lot, trails where she could walk with her dog and a fenced open area where dogs could run free.

Progress has been made. There's a gravel road extending south from Wilbur Street, about three acres of cleared black spruce-both courtesy of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and a bank account holding nearly $5,000.

The Fairbanks Dog Park Inc., the nonprofit organization set up to develop the park, now needs dirt fill, grass seed, a fence and someone to extend the road. Janet Brown, the organization's president, said the group's goal is to begin using the dog park within two years.

The group has been raising money by selling T-shirts and dog biscuits, holding a raffle and preparing a cookbook to sell at area craft bazaars this fall. Brown said she is looking into grants.

An auction is planned for Feb. 9 at the J.P. Jones Community Development Center, formerly the Southside Community Center. Brown estimates that dog park supporters need $200,000 to $500,000 or donations of labor and materials worth that much.

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