Olentangy Valley News

Teen hopes to build momentum for dog park

Powell City Council leaders say new Seldom Seen Park could be ideal location

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Liberty High School sophomore Shreya Sirivolu and her dog, Bujji, are the faces of a fledgling movement to create a dog park in Powell.
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Liberty High School sophomore Shreya Sirivolu is the proud owner of an energetic Labrador retriever named Bujji.

But when it's time to get some exercise, there's precious little space in town where Bujji can frolic. When the weather is nice enough, the pair heads to the Friends of Alum Creek Dog Park at Alum Creek State Park.

"It's a good dog park, but it's kind of far away. It's about a 20-minute drive," Sirivolu said.

So the 16-year-old Powell resident is hoping to bring the dog park closer to home.

Sirivolu addressed Powell City Council during its March 19 meeting to ask about the possibility of opening a dog park in the city.

Dog parks are simple, she said. All it would take is a bit of fenced-in land where pet owners can let their dogs run and play, along with a few trash cans and a bench or two.

"This would be beneficial to dog owners who are looking for ways to socialize and exercise their dogs, and also serve as a little perk for our canine population," she said.

Aside from the Alum Creek park, the nearest dog park for Powell residents is the Companion Club Dog Park west of Riverside Drive -- but that park requires a paid membership.

Sirivolu said Powell dog owners need more opportunities to let their dogs off the leash.

In the 43065 ZIP code, there are 2,025 registered dog owners and 2,725 licensed dogs, according to the Delaware County Auditor's Office.

Powell council members said the creation of a dog park is something to consider -- but first, they'd need a plan to fund its creation and maintenance.

"It's a nice feature. The question is, how do you fund it?" Councilman Tom Counts asked.

Mayor Richard Cline said he's concerned the park would be difficult to maintain. Fluctuations in the weather, combined with energetic dogs, can leave dog parks a muddy mess.

But City Manager Steve Lutz said it might be the right fit for Seldom Seen Park, a new park planned for the space just north of Seldom Seen Road and west of the railroad tracks.

Planning is set to begin for the park this year. It will cater to youth athletics and include a playground and picnic space. Lutz said a dog park potentially could be added to the plan.

"Instead of trying to shoehorn it into something that exists, it might be an opportunity where we incorporate it into the design of that park," he said.

Powell resident Ann Wenberg is the founder and president of the Friends of Alum Creek Dog Park. She said the ideal park would have trees, ample parking and a water source to keep dogs hydrated.

It also would have separate fenced spaces for big dogs and small dogs.

Wenberg said a letter-writing campaign or a show of interest at a council meeting might prove to Powell leaders that a dog park is in high demand.

"The dogs of Powell deserve a dog park," she said.

Sirivolu said anyone interested in getting involved in promoting the cause should contact her at shreya.sirivolu@ gmail.com.

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