Jennifer Payne-Simpkins

Fort Oglethorpe City Manager Jennifer Payne-Simpkins discusses details of fundraising efforts by the city’s dog park committee during the April 23 council meeting. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook)

After months of planning and acquiring input from local residents, the city of Fort Oglethorpe is moving forward with its first grant application to raise funds for a dog park.

During the council meeting on April 23, City Manager Jennifer Payne-Simpkins said the dog park committee, creatively dubbed the “bark city committee,” had begun mapping out its fundraising efforts.

“This is an exciting opportunity that is in response to city council direction from awhile back to city staff to start looking for funding,” Payne-Simpkins said. “The ‘bark city committee’ has one fundraising partnership coming up with Moe’s Southwest Grill in the near future, as well as a grant opportunity.”

In October, Public Works and Recreation Director Jeff Long said the proposed 400-foot-by-150-foot fenced-in park would cost approximately $40,000 to complete. The city already has $15,000 in funding allocated to the project, which means the grant the committee is looking at could get the project right where it needs to be financially.

“This opportunity is for a $25,000 grant from Pet Safe, a subsidiary of Radio Assistance Corporation,” Payne-Simpkins explained. “Every year they release a request for proposals for non-profit organizations and local governments who are seeking to build a new dog park or seeking to add to an existing dog park. What the ‘bark city committee’ is interested in is going for is the $25,000 grant to construct a new dog park.”

The City Council unanimously approved moving forward with the committee’s plan to apply for the grant.

The project really began to pick up steam in November and December, when the city ran a survey on its website to garner feedback for such a park.

The survey revealed that 87 percent of the 235 residents polled indicated they would visit a safe dog park in Fort Oglethorpe at least once a week. Eighty-three percent indicated they would invest $20 or more in a plaque or other commemorative item to help raise funds for the dog park, and 35 respondents gave their contact information stating they'd be willing to volunteer or participate with the dog park.

The proposed location for the park is at the intersection of Van Cleve Street and Patterson Avenue.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.