Dogs, owners check out new park

Buddy, a beagle, was a shelter dog. Brindle, probably a mixed-breed, and Max, a husky, were abandoned.

All three eventually found themselves adopted by James Crandall, 63, and his wife, Dianne, of 110 Bartlett St.

James and his menagerie took advantage of a little time off work to visit the Marietta Community Dog Park on Tuesday morning.

“These guys get so excited if I reach for a hat or a plastic bag,” James said. “They go crazy. They can’t wait to get up here.”

James said he appreciates the volunteers who take care of the park and supply containers of water and plastic bags to clean up what’s left by the dogs.

Although he knows there are things to be done, James said one couldn’t ask for a better place than the dog park.

The efforts so far can be attributed to Teresa Hayes and a group of volunteers who began to build the fences and gates in August at the facility at Jackson Hill Park, 1201 Cisler Drive. That Phase I work was completed in November.

“It’s been very well received,” Hayes said. “People are really enjoying it. We haven’t heard any negative comments.”

On tap for the coming weeks are the installation of a drinking fountain for the dogs (Phase II) and a grand opening in August.

Organizers said a donation was earmarked for the fountain, and the city will install the water line during the summer. The city also will do the mowing until the group finds a mower, gas-powered trimmer and a push mower to do the work itself.

Hayes said another goal is to organize three or four volunteers to do monthly maintenance on the dog park.

Another volunteer, Steve Blocker, 62, of 517 Fourth St., said he’s been working on community service projects for years, including the Incredible Community Playground and Flanders Fields.

“I have more time to give, so I do,” Blocker said. “I do it just to stay busy. It makes you feel good.”

The group is working to establish a nonprofit Friends of Jackson Hill Park improve the park and to establish a series of trails across the city, with Jackson Hill Park as its hub, Hayes said.

Citizens can volunteer or financially help the cause by sponsoring a bench ($300), a tree ($150) or a brick ($50). Plaques will be added to benches and trees to honor or memorialize someone. Bricks can be imprinted with a group name as well.

Because the organization will be a 501(c)3, a nonprofit, any donation will be tax deductible, Blocker said.