Community members express both support and hesitation for possible new dog park in downtown JC

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Community members are responding after Connect Downtown Johnson City leaders applied for a grant to bring a dog park to downtown Johnson City.

The grant, called the “Dog Park Dash” put on by the Boyd Foundation could provide between $25,000 to $100,000 in funding to go towards a park.

Development authority leaders said they collected over 540 handwritten letters from the community in support.

“The community has been very supportive of this initiative and our application for the dog park dog dash grant,” Lindsey Jones with the Johnson City Development Authority and Connect Downtown Johnson City said. “In fact, we were blown away by the amount of support that we received.”

While many have been supportive, some citizens like David Hyde Jr., president of the Friends of Johnson City Dog Park Association Inc. are voicing their concerns.

“We’re not saying that we don’t want another dog park,” Hyde said. “We just think there’s a right way to run it, and a safe way to run it.”

Hyde’s organization oversees Johnson City’s current only dog park, Willow Springs.

Willow Springs is a paid dog park that operates off of membership fees.

“We spend about $12,000 a year on maintaining this park, that’s from aeration, toys, grass seed,” Hyde said. “We support the Boyd Foundation to bring more dog parks it, but that pays for the creation of the park. We have concerns about what will happen after that.”

“We’ve got a lot of ideas for what we’ll do for maintaining the dog park if we get to develop it here,” Jones said. “A lot of it would probably be from sponsorships, or you know, donations, to help pay for a cleaning crew, and you know help pay for dog toys to be replenished in the park and making sure the landscaping is great.”

Another concern that Hyde has is that Willow Springs requires proof of vaccinations, but a public park would not. Hyde said the possibility of kennel cough spread could be an issue.

“One dog can drink from a puddle of water, or a bucket of water or a bowl of water and spread it to any dog that does not have the Bordetella vaccination.” Hyde said. “When a member joins our park, they show that proof of vaccination, and we are concerned with another park in the city not having that.”

Jones said the downtown association hopes to hear the results of the contest sometime in July.

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