Board approves creation of Macomb Township’s first dog park

By: Jeremy Selweski | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published May 21, 2013

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The township is looking to make a lot of canines and their owners happy by giving them a place to run, play and make new friends.

On May 8, the Macomb Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved a proposal from Parks and Recreation Director Sal DiCaro to establish Macomb’s first dog park. The board’s support allows DiCaro to begin creating a site plan and receiving cost estimates for the project, work that will likely be done in conjunction with the township engineer at a cost not to exceed $5,000.

According to DiCaro, the dog park will be located behind Macomb Township Fire Station No. 2 along 21 Mile Road between Garfield and Romeo Plank roads. The property, which is roughly 5 acres in size, is currently an unused open field that township officials had not yet determined a good use for.

“We found a parcel of land that really could not be developed into anything else besides a dog park,” DiCaro explained. “Now, we just need to figure out what some of the costs will be, but we don’t anticipate that it will be anything too outrageous, especially since we already own the land.”

DiCaro noted that most of those costs would be devoted to constructing fencing all around the park, installing water lines in order to provide drinking fountains for dogs and owners, and putting in an electrical line that will power the electronic gate. Beyond those startup costs, he pointed out that the park “will not be very labor-intensive to maintain” once it’s open to the public.

It should also be a relatively quick process. DiCaro said that he would like to start working on the project this fall and have the park ready to open in 2014.

At this early stage, details about how the park will be operated have not yet been established, but DiCaro stated that it will likely be modeled after the dog park in neighboring Clinton Township. At that park, dog owners must purchase an electronic key fob to gain entry, pay an annual user fee, provide dog license paperwork and proof of current immunizations, and clean up any messes that their four-legged friends leave behind.

According to DiCaro, township officials had been looking to establish a dog park for quite some time, but until recently, they had not found an ideal piece of land on which to do it.

“It’s a project that was in our master plan, and some residents have said that they want one of these on the community surveys that we’ve conducted,” he said. “So we figured that this was something we could do relatively inexpensively that a lot of people would enjoy.”

Trustee Nancy Nevers agreed. She said that she supported the project “100 percent” because she believes that Macomb residents will make good use of a dog park.

“There are loads of people in the township who are dog-lovers,” she noted, “and I think they would really enjoy having a place like this to bring their dog. They would probably love the idea of having an open space where their dog could run around without a leash.”

She was also encouraged by the fact that a dog park is not an expensive project for the township to undertake. “This may not be everyone’s dream, but I can’t imagine that anyone would be strongly opposed to it,” she said.

DiCaro pointed out that the future dog park is located next to a residential neighborhood, but he was quick to add that every effort will be taken not to disturb the neighbors. The park will only be open from dawn to dusk, he stated, meaning that residents will never have to worry about barking dogs after dark.

“If you’re a dog owner, then you’re probably going to love this park,” he said. “If you’re not, then you probably won’t care — and that’s perfectly fine. This is just a really great use for that piece of land. As long as it’s something that’s affordable to us, I can’t think of a good reason not to do it.”

For more information about the dog park, call Macomb Township Parks and Recreation at (586) 992-2900.