A place for pups to roam

Published 8:57 am Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kim Underwood of Austin Park and Recreation and Mayor Tom Stiehm discuss the layout of a future dog park in the vacant space across Main Street, east of Bandshell Community Park on Monday morning. -- Matt Peterson/matt.peterson@austindailyherald.com

Members of SPARK (Start a Park for Austin’s Respectable K9s) saw Monday how big its future dog park may be.

Virginia Larsen, SPARK (Start a Park for Austin's Respectable K9s) committee member, walks her dogs and listens while other SPARK committee members discuss the layout for a future dog park in Austin.

Committee members from SPARK, Mayor Tom Stiehm and Park and Rec Director Kim Underwood posted flags and measured the perimeter for fencing in the open park just across Main Street and east of Bandshell Park.

After some brief discussion, officials marked off a 220- by 300-foot area, making sure the fence wouldn’t be too close to the parking lot, bike path or trees. SPARK committee members aren’t exactly sure how much fencing and benches will cost.

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“It depends on the size,” said committee member Mike Schatz. “It’s probably gong to be $10,000 to $15,000 minimum.”

SPARK has already received $7,500 through personal and business donations; however, SPARK President Martha Hauschildt said the park won’t likely be complete until this fall.

“We don’t want to make any rash decisions,” she said. “We want to do everything right.”

When it is complete, Hauschildt said the park will not only be a good place for dogs, but a great place for people to make new acquaintances.