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Fundraising starts for Monroe dog park
Jeff Newcomer with his bulldog Ruby, Ryan Ziltner with his dog Willow and Katherine Frey with her dog Carson hang out Sunday at a Monroe site they hope will be turned into a dog park. To order this photo, click here. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)

How to help

• Funding goal: $50,000

• Contributions: Donations for the future dog park can be sent to the Monroe Parks and Recreation Department, Attention: Monroe Dog Park, 1110 18th Ave., Monroe, WI 53566.

• More information: Contact Jeff Newcomer at (608) 228-6438.

MONROE - A group of citizens have asked for community support in their endeavor to create a 2.63-acre dog park in the north industrial park.

A dog park was one of the goals of the recently adopted Monroe Comprehensive Plan.

One of the people looking to install the community space is alderman Jeff Newcomer, who said the lack of a dog park within the city was noticeable after he had lived near St. Louis and could visit a sprawling green space with Ruby, his 7-year-old Old English Bulldog.

"We just brainstormed, looked at the map, and we landed on this," Newcomer said. "The city has been great working with us and here we are today."

The Plan Commission allowed a rezoning of the space surrounding the water tower in August after hearing a presentation from Newcomer and fellow dog lovers Ryan Ziltner and Katherine Frey. Two separate areas will be designated for small and big dogs, with a larger space fenced off surrounding the tower, and a smaller piece of land fenced between the industrial park road that butts up to the large dog area. A space for parking with roughly 10 spots would be paved to the west of the utility road leading to the tower.

"We think it'd be a good asset to the city, both for dogs and for people," Ziltner said. "It's a great opportunity for dogs to exercise, get to know each other and play with their owners. From another standpoint, it's really good for people to be able to network, meet new friends, talk to people they work with, talk to people they've never met before; just some community camaraderie."

Both Ziltner, who has a 2-year-old dog named Willow, and Frey, the owner of a 9-year-old dog named Carson, hope to take their retrievers to the space rather than making frequent trips to Verona and its dog-friendly park. Users of the dog park would have to register for use of the park and verify their dog is current on its vaccinations. Permits to use the park would have an annual cost of $30.

Newcomer said they received their first donation Tuesday. Mailings with information about the park and how to contribute financially were sent to local residents who the group deemed were "dog enthusiasts" the week of Dec. 5. Newcomer said they have gotten positive reactions from friends and neighbors. They hope the park is ready to open in the spring.

The first portion of the costs would be dedicated to fixed expenses such as fencing, a parking area, cement around the entry, signage and a waste dispenser as well as garbage cans, dog tags and a sponsor board. The 5-foot fence would outline the perimeter of the area, separated by the water tower, looping outside the drip line and nearly reaching to the utility road. Estimated costs for Phase I are $40,000 to $45,000.

Phase II, which focuses largely on landscaping, benches, a water spigot and water winterization would be an additional $5,000 to $15,000. Phase III is referred to as the platinum option, which would add extra benches, an upgraded water supply and decorative fencing. The platinum goal could be up to an additional $15,000.

Right now, the group is focused on Phase I and how quickly they could establish the park with fewer amenities.

"We just hope everybody can get on board and support it, and see the value of it to the community whether they're a dog lover or dog owner or not," Ziltner said.