By ALLEN RAU
The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted Tuesday to approve grant applications to fund the construction of a dog park on the town’s Rosenbaum property, located along Little Limestone Creek on Old State Route 34.
There are two grants that could fund the dog park; one is from the Pet Safe grant program and funds $25,000 and the other is the Boyd Foundation, also for $25,000. Randy Boyd, current candidate for governor, owns Pet Safe and operates Boyd Foundation, but these are two separate programs.
The motion passed on a 3-1 vote with Alderman David Sell voting against the motion.
“I’m not a proponent. I’m not an animal hater. I’ve got two dogs, a cat and two ponies,” Sell said. “My main issue on the dog park is that the list of projects that we’ve already got going on.
“Our crew is stretched very thin for maintenance and we keep adding. … I’m not against it, but I really don’t even feel like it needs to be in
the equation right now. To me, it needs to be on the very back burner.”
Alderman Virginia Causey disagreed, “I feel like since it is a grant, we have to apply for it; we don’t know whether we’ll get it or not. I think we should go ahead and authorize the staff to apply for the grant. I think the park will be used.
“I think there’s a lot of people that’s got dogs that would take them and let them run in the park.”
Mayor Chuck Vest believed the proposal was a good opportunity to pick up at least $25,000 to fund the park.
“I think what we’re looking at … is a park that’s going to come in close to what the grant’s going to be. The question will be will our grant be $25,000 or would it be $50,000?
“In my opinion, if we get a grant from a foundation, it’s free money, and it’s something we can get built without using taxpayer dollars.”
Both grants have a three-year contract, so the park would have to open within three years.
Town Administrator Bob Browning added, “There’s really about three things that are priorities to the funders. One is that it’s fenced, that small and large dogs are separated; that there’s adequate sign-age; and that there’s water available for the animals.
Browning added, “A dog park is a big draw and I agree with Alderman Causey that it would be highly used. It’ll be in a great location and I think it’ll be an added plus to the town with really minimal maintenance.”
Browning and Jonesborough Parks and Recreation Director Rachel Conger researched the options for a dog park and worked with an engineer to develop a concept plan. The presentation went before both the Tree and Townscape and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and both unanimously recommended that the BMA authorize the search for grant funding.