Spock Memorial Dog Park becoming a reality
By Derrick C. Parker
Scioto Voice Writer
First Ward Councilman Sean Dunne unveiled a new $43,098 grant awarded to the City of Portsmouth that will go to construct the upcoming Spock Memorial Dog Park. The grant comes from the Ohio department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Natureworks Grant program.
“This is a coordinated effort from a variety of individuals and groups,” said Dunne. “Tracy Shearer played a huge role writing the grant and Ben Davis was also an enormous help with everything from naming and design, to traveling to Columbus to do research. He knows what to look for, how to fence it in, and all the angles of a good dog park…without Ben, I don’t know if this happens.”
The dog park is to be located on 2ndStreet between the City Building and Grant Bridge, just across from the pet friendly Holiday Inn Hotel. While there is a bit of funding left to go on the project, Shearer said the city’s share will not exceed $20,000 and she hopes to reduce that amount through more grants in the near future.
“I intend to apply to the Scioto Foundation for additional grant funds,” said Shearer. “They’re always wonderful to assist with community projects like this. That will alleviate a lot of expense to the City. The City’s share of the project will not exceed $20,000. And once the dog park and multi-use path is complete, downtown Portsmouth will really be transformed!”
Davis is a local business man and has been a supporter of dog park project for years.
“The dog park has been something I have envisioned for Portsmouth for about 8 years now,” said Davis. “In 2015, I met with Gina Chabot and she worked up a perspective that I had presented to a few different groups along with Sean and Tracy. From there, Sean started talking about the space on 2ndas a potential spot and then Tracy went to work looking for grants to make it happen. I am really excited for Portsmouth and our resident dogs to have a place to meet and socialize…this is a win for Portsmouth.”
Dunne says he believes construction of the Spock Memorial Dog Park will begin in the spring.
“When I was campaigning, we built support and knocked on doors and there was just an overwhelming support for this to happen,” he explained. “I think this is something the community has wanted. And it just shows at the end of the day, elections matter! People wanted action and it came together more quickly than I could have even expected.”
“But that’s how things should work…when we were developing our overall message for large projects it was all about us pursuing these grant opportunities to fund improvements by transforming spaces into new activities. This is a very straight forward message- things are moving forward. We want to improve this space and almost everyone I’ve spoken to has approved of this. And I just love the idea of going downtown and seeing people out and about. This is huge for Portsmouth.”
And despite being kept busy by these grant writing projects, Shearer agrees. She sees this as part of Portsmouth’s transition to a reinvented, revitalized city.
“Exceptional cities are known for their open spaces which facilitate physical activity and positive mental health. Dog parks promote community engagement, socialization, and exercise for both owners and their pets.”