The park is to be located on an empty, city-owned lot at the west end of Eighth Avenue, adjacent to the Uncompahgre River.
The main champion of the dog park, Ouray resident June Kirchner, reported to council on Monday, April 16, that she and a group of fellow dog park supporters have raised over $4,500 for the dog park, with two outstanding pledges totaling over $600, since January. The total projected cost for the project is $5,600 – most of that for fencing.
Kirchner requested that the City of Ouray provide the remaining funds needed to open the park by June 15, with the promise that she would raise enough money to pay the city back by the end of the summer.
She and her group have a few more fundraising events planned throughout the summer, she said, including a yard sale, an ice cream social and possibly a reception for summer residents. The group is also selling t-shirts and “Dogs of Ouray” calendars to raise funds over the summer.
“What will happen if you can’t achieve that?” Councilman Gary Hansen asked.
“I will pay for it,” Kirchner replied. “We will get the money by Aug. 31.”
Last week, the Ouray Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the dog park. And on Monday, council also passed an ordinance, on its first reading, allowing for owners or custodians of dogs to run at large within officially designated off-leash areas.
Councilor Richard Kersen asked Kirchner if she had assembled a formal committee to be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the dog park once it opens.
“Once the park is open, we will establish a steady volunteer group for continued maintenance,” Kirchner promised. “I don’t foresee a problem [recruiting people for the committee] once I’m hanging out at the park and meeting people and saying ‘Can you help with this?’”
Kersen praised the initiative of the citizens who have rallied to make the dog park a reality, and Hansen said he thought it would be “a great asset to the community.”
In addition to its pledge of immediate financial support, the city has also committed to provide in-kind support for the dog park in the form of donated benches, site preparation, mowing throughout the summer season, garbage pick-up and more.
According to the proposal presented by Kirchner on Monday, amenities at the Ouray Dog Park may include, but are not limited to fencing, shade structures, waterlines/faucets/fountains, lighting, dog exercise/agility equipment, and furniture for human use.
Immediate plans for park preparation include at least two work days in late May and early June at which volunteers will rake, fill in holes, remove weeds and growth from the base of trees, and remove trash.