By Benjamin Gohs
Could Boyne City be getting a new dog park at Avalanche Park?
Boyne City Public Works Superintendent Andy Kovolski recommended that the Boyne City Commission direct city staff to work with a citizens committee to compile a detailed proposal for a possible dog park project.
“We’ve had some interest in establishing a dog park here in town,” Kovolski said. “Originally there was some interest in a couple of locations—one was at the 1910 building site and two at Avalanche … the old hockey rink was one area, across from the existing warming house. But this other area that’s personally my favorite … would be just to the east of the access road that runs up to the reservoir.”
Kovolski said the latter of the three areas would work best because it is near various public facilities like water fountains, rest rooms and it is near an area of possible expansion.
“I think this is something that bears looking at,” he said. “There is a citizens ad hoc type committee trying to get together right now to help with some funding situations for this and I think it behooves us to let them do their thing and work with staff to see what we can come up with to make this happen.”
Boyne City Manager Michael Cain said he wants to make sure the public has ample opportunity to comment on the concept.
The triangular portion of the park would be fenced. One end is 200 feet wide. One end is 50 feet wide. The triangular plot is 400 feet long.
Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Baumann said he went to the last citizens committee meeting on the matter since he has four dogs himself. He said he has received all but one comment that was positive on the proposal when he broached the subject on Facebook.
One of the things the committee was talking about, said Cain, was that concerns have been expressed by people who have gone to Avalanche in the past and dealt with dogs on the loose because the owner is nowhere to be seen or far behind them.
“By giving a place where dogs can run and people can allow them to have a little bit of freedom in a fenced area, hopefully it will help curb problems they have had in the past,” Cain said.
Boyne City Commissioner Tom Neidhamer supports the idea.
“I’ve been on the subcommittee and we’re heading in the right direction,” Neidhamer said. “Dog parks are very popular and it’s a great social event of the owners to get together and let their dogs go in a fenced-in area.”
Neidhamer said this would help the city become more dog-friendly.
“I think we’re on the track to create one more thing that Boyne City has that other towns around us do not have,” he said.
Boyne City Commissioner Delbert “Gene” Towne said he would like to see more details but he supports the idea overall.
Boyne City Commissioner Derek Gaylord said the location by the 1910 building has a potential for subjecting a residential area to excessive barking.
Gaylord said he has also heard complaints about dogs running at large at Avalanche Park and that it would make the most sense to have a fenced-in area in a remote location like Avalanche Park. He did ask what the city’s financial or material commitment in the proposal and how dog attacks could be mitigated.
Cain said there would be an area for small dogs and an area for large dogs to help prevent larger dogs harming smaller dogs.
Cain said there could be some in-kind donations provided by the city in the form of running a water line to the park in addition to devoting the portion of land in question if the project were to go through.
Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom said she liked the idea of a dog park but was not sold on the proposed Avalanche Park triangular property location.
The proposed fence would be vinyl coated chain link and six feet high.
According to the Avalanche Park master plan, there was no proposed use for the area currently being considered for the dog park.
The Boyne City Commission voted unanimously to approve a motion to support the concept of a dog park and go forward with allowing the city staff to work with the dog park citizens committee on preparing a more detailed plan.