Fido's playground: Belleville dog park will come with a price

News-DemocratApril 22, 2013 

After three years of his quest to see a dog park built in Belleville, Phil Elmore nearly has his wish.

He said he has high hopes that the Belleville Dog Park will be open this summer in Rotary Park along North Sixth Street in Belleville. That also is the plan at the Belleville Parks and Recreation Department, which will be running the park.

In those three years of development, Elmore has worked with a number of dedicated volunteers to hold fund raisers, such as movie nights at East End Park, dinner nights at various restaurants and a poker run with Seven restaurant.

At first it seemed they might be barking up the wrong tree with plans to build the dog park on the north end of East End Park. But those changed to city land where a maintenance building used to be on South Sixth Street and then to Rotary Park on North Sixth Street.

Contributions started coming in, starting with Nestle Purina PetCare in St. Louis providing $5,000. Then UltraPLAY in Red Bud promised $5,000 in play equipment.

The dog park got a big boost with a $15,000 grant from the city of Belleville and $25,000 from St. Clair County.

Now the fence is up at Rotary Park, although there are no gates yet, Elmore said.

"We're waiting for the locks to come in and the dog amenities for the park," he said. "If you put your dog in there, there is nothing to keep him from running out."

There also is the leash law to consider.

He said they have invested $57,000 in creating the park which will have water fountains for both dogs and owners. There also will be benches, sidewalks, permanent shade structures and maybe even surveillance cameras in the future.

Users will be able to swipe a card to gain entrance. To get the card, there will be membership fees, a point of contention with some people who wonder why a city park has fees.

Fees for Belleville residents will be $24 for one dog, $36 for two dogs and $48 for three dogs.

For non-residents the fees will be higher, $48 for one dog, $60 for two dogs and $72 for three dogs.

Applications for membership will be available soon at the Parks and Recreation Department. They will require proof of dog license with St. Clair County and immunization.

Anyone using the park does so at his or her own risk and is legally responsible for his or her own dogs.

Dogs need to be under voice command and control at all times, which eliminates my dogs who certainly never listen to me and only do what I want when I have food.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email: wspiers@bnd.com

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