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Fort Wayne parks director wants to add second dog park

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Rules of the dog park

Hundreds of dogs (and their owners) every year get passes to Pawster Park on the south side of Fort Wayne. Being a member of this canine attraction requires more than just paying the $40 yearly membership fee. Among its most important rules:
•Dogs in heat are not allowed at the park.
•Owners must pick up after their dogs.
•Puppies younger than 4 months are not allowed in the park, for fear of them being injured.
•Owners are not allowed to leave dogs at the park unattended.
•Dogs using the park are supposed to have the bone-shaped “Pooch Pass” tag attached to their collars.

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 7:00 am

A decade after a corner of Foster Park was set aside for dogs and dog owners, the director of city parks wants to do the same thing on the north side of Fort Wayne.

Al Moll, director of Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation, said Thursday he plans to ask the park board for approval to create a second dog park on the north side of town. He anticipates little or no opposition. A key reason: He expects that donations and money banked from a decade of membership fees at Pawster Park on the south side will provide enough funds to create another dog park.

As he looked around at the fence, gate, pavilion and play equipment in Pawster Park, along Winchester Road about 300 yards southeast of Bluffton Road, he said he believes Pawster cost more than $100,000 to equip.

“If we do another one, it shouldn't cost that much,” he said. He believes a second dog park would feature less equipment, such as hoops and ramps, and a smaller, simpler pavilion. He said he's confident the second park could be created for less than $100,000.

Maintenance – mostly mowing and trimming – is so easy that membership fees always bring in more than go for ongoing upkeep. Memberships cost $40 a year. The city already has sold more than 200 memberships this year; in a typical year, 300-400 dogs are signed up for a “pooch pass.”

Where a second dog park would be located is still undecided, though Moll said Johnny Appleseed Park is an obvious choice with a significant side benefit – campers in the park's campground could buy temporary passes for their dogs to play in a park there.

If he wins approval for a second park, he expects the parks department to begin work on it next year or late this year, he said.