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User fee suggested for Berkeley County dog park

July 16, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • The Wall Street entrance to the future Berkeley County, W.Va., dog park at Ambrose Park in Martinsburg, W.Va., is ready for pooches large and small.
By Matthew Umstead, Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation Board’s executive director suggested those who use the county’s first dog park be charged a fee to encourage the community to take “ownership” of the facility.

Steve Catlett suggested board members consider charging dog park users a $20 to $25 annual fee to encourage people to clean up after their dogs and not expose others to canines that haven’t been vaccinated.

The Wurzburg Dog Park is being built in Ambrose Park in Martinsburg thanks to a donation by city residents Travis and Scarlett Hill on behalf of their family.

Catlett told board members that users could access the fenced dog play area with a swipe card and believes they would be more vigilant about adhering to park rules and maintaining the park if a fee were charged.

Catlett said he believes most dog parks are open to anyone, and canine owners can come and go as they please, but said the issue is worthy of more discussion.

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No action was taken Tuesday, but board members agreed that the donors be contacted for their input on the issue, since the dog park is being funded by the couple’s contribution of up to $125,000.

Catlett said the dog park, along with new playground equipment and a children’s garden to be built at Ambrose Park, are expected to be served by a new 12-space parking area that is pending a site plan review by the City of Martinsburg.

Aside from the privately funded dog-playing area, the other improvements to the 4.3-acre park, including new pavilions and bathroom renovations, are being funded with $14,500 in state funding and about $160,000 in federal money channeled through the city’s Community Development Block Grant program.

The new parking lot is eyed for the west end of the park along Wall Street, off Mall Drive.

The playground equipment bid was awarded to Martinsburg-based Taylor Sports and Recreation, which was among five bidders to submit proposals, Catlett said. Each bidder was asked to submit a proposal that would cost no more than $100,000, according to Catlett.

“It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s not,” Catlett said.

The bid includes the cost of installing the commercial-grade equipment and mulch around it, Catlett said.

The parks and recreation board Tuesday also separately voted to award concrete work to be done at the park to Devonshire Construction LLC, which bid $19,706 for the project.

Sue Ann Palmer, who is leading the Gateway Garden Club’s effort to develop the children’s garden, told board members Tuesday that the group is about to do a mass mailing as part of fundraising efforts.

“We’re applying for every grant we can find,” said Palmer, who presented a schematic overview for the proposed play area to the board.

Palmer said the club received $5,000 from the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation for the project and $5,000 for an endowment to maintain it after it is completed.

The garden is envisioned to include a 16-foot “mountain” that children can climb, “dinosaur ribs,” a butterfly/caterpillar area and other niches to help connect youngsters to nature, Palmer said.

Palmer said she hopes the project will be complete in two years.

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