Town Council Ponders Two Potential Locations For Dog Park

Published 11:22 am Tuesday, September 2, 2014

FARMVILLE — Attention, canine citizens of Farmville and your human companions.

Get ready to wag your tails or nod your heads, respectively, because town council is seriously contemplating creation of a dog park.

The two potential locations looked upon with most favor during preliminary discussions are Town property behind the STEPS building—the old west end lagoon site—and the former landfill located off Industrial Park Road.

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There is “a lot of interest” in a dog park, Mayor David E. Whitus noted during council’s August work session.

Dog parks offer opportunities for the animals to exercise and socialize in a safe environment. Ruff House Dog Park, owned by Chesterfield County and located in Rockwood Park, offers two kennels with benches and plenty of water for the dogs to keep hydrated while they play.

The park’s website describes the facility’s mission as providing a fenced-in, off-leash dog park “where well-behaved canine citizens can exercise in a clean, safe environment without endangering people, property, other dogs or wildlife.”

The aim is also to promote education, training and recreational activities that facilitate responsible dog ownership for improvement in socialization of dogs through the use of volunteers and professional dog trainers.

The Town of Farmville is looking toward the county-owned park, which operates as a partnership between Chesterfield County and The Friends of Ruff House, as an example to follow in pursuing its own dog park.

As town manager Gerald Spates and town council brainstormed the idea, a variety of potential sites had been mooted and then booted for various reasons.

The property at Wilck’s Lake was insufficient to accommodate a dog park and its other existing uses, the Mottley Lake property was too far out of town, property along the river east of Main Street, across from Riverside Park, is considered too susceptible to flooding and the Town’s property off Bridge Street also flood-prone, though less so.

“My only concern with that,” Spates said of the riverside low ground, “would be when the river gets up one of those big logs would come down and take the fence down. We need to find a location for it.”

And Spates and town council persevered.

“You’ve got the land down there at Bridge Street, the low ground…That floods but it’s not as bad as some of the other places,” the town manager continued.

As for Mottley Lake, he said, “you’ve got plenty of land, but it’s a ride.”

At that point in the deliberations, Spates thought of the former landfill property near Piedmont Regional Jail. A dog park, he said, would be “a perfect use for it” and council members agreed.

Ward D council member Donald L. Hunter then asked about the six acres of property behind STEPS.

“I hadn’t thought of that. The old west end lagoon,” Spates said.

“That might be better,” Ward B council member Sally Thompson said.

Spates promised to “take a look at that” and Mayor Whitus said if that property won’t work “the landfill is still an option.”

Town council is expected to continue discussions this month.

Local dogs, meanwhile, are convinced council members aren’t “parking” up the wrong tree in moving toward a place for them to play.