Two Grandview Heights seventh-graders are in dogged pursuit of their goal to bring a park for their four-legged friends to the city.
Greta Tew and Katie Ramsey, both 12 years old, have met twice with Mayor Ray DeGraw and council President Greta Kearns to state their case, most recently June 21.
The girls will appeal to local leaders at an upcoming City Council meeting as well.
Greta, daughter of Melissa and Jonathan Tew, initiated the effort as part of her project to earn a Silver Award in Girl Scouts.
Katie, whose parents are Kenneth and Lisa Ramsey, said she agreed with her friend's goals and decided to help her out.
"There are so many people with dogs in Grandview, it just seems like we should have a place they can take their dogs, remove their leash and let them run free," Greta said.
"It can be frustrating, because there are some parks in Grandview where dogs aren't allowed," she said.
Areas in the city's park system where dogs are allowed include the grassy areas at Goodale Boulevard west of Urlin Avenue and around Wallace Gardens; and Parkway, Memorial, Burr Avenue and Yard Street parks. In these areas, dogs must be on a leash.
However, dogs are not permitted at the city's largest and most popular parks: Pierce Field, McKinley Field, Wyman Woods and C. Ray Buck Sports Park.
"You have to get in a car and drive to get to a dog park," Katie said. "I go to one at (Scioto Audubon Metro Park) downtown, but it's not very convenient."
Both girls said they want to have a dog park they can walk to with their dogs. Greta's family has a German shepherd/golden retriever mix named Emma; Katie's pet, Bailey, is a labradoodle.
For dogs, a designated open space would give them the room to run around and play, Greta said.
For their owners, the park would be a place to meet and socialize with other dog-lovers, she said.
DeGraw said he was impressed with the girls' presentation.
"They did a nice job making their case for a dog park," he said. "They did a lot of research into the costs of starting a park, including the benches you would need to buy or providing water for the dogs and their owners."
The problem isn't that the city wouldn't want to create a dog park, DeGraw said.
"It's the lack of space," he said. "You would need at least 2 acres to create a sustainable dog park. You need that much room so you can rotate the space that's used by the dogs."
At this point, there isn't a sizable-enough site that could host a dog park, DeGraw said.
There also is a need to establish more soccer fields in the community, which would require open space, he said.
"We've had a number of residents over the years ask about creating a dog park," DeGraw said. "We even went so far a few years ago to looking at some preliminary design ideas."
But it still comes down to a lack of space, he said.
"It's something we can continue to look at," DeGraw said. "Both Greta and I recommended that the girls make their presentation before council."
Many people in the community are in favor of a dog park, Greta Tew said.
"We have a petition that's been signed by 116 people," she said.
The girls set up a booth during the Tour de Grandview Cycling Classic earlier this month to collect signatures.
"I live right by where the start and finish line are, and we got a lot of signatures that night," Katie said.
"It's been fun and a little frustrating" working on the dog park initiative, Greta said.
"We're not going to give up yet," she said.