During the June 18 fiscal court meeting, Hazard Civic Fellows Stacie Fugate, Hannah Collett and Samantha Turner discussed their plans to open the Hazard-Perry County Dog Park and provided updates on their progress.

“We’re Hazard Civic Fellows interning for the city over the summer, so it’s really exciting,” said Fugate. She said the group has discussed many ideas on how to better the community, but their main goal for the summer is to develop a dog park.

“Our mission is to take the opinions of our bright minded citizens of Hazard and Perry County, as well as the knowledge of our local vets and groomers, to construct our very own community dog park,” said Fugate.

The Fellows said there would be many benefits to having the park, including bonds being formed, behavior changes, exercise and providing a safe space, among other things.

“The establishment of this park will provide a safe, secure place for dog owners and their canines alike to participate in effective socialization, all the while encouraging a more meaningful relationship between the owners and their dogs, as well as the community at large,” said Fugate.

“We have taken the knowledge from our local vets and groomers, which we found out if you take your dog to a dog park, they are less likely to be dominant and aggressive towards other animals and there are less dogs to be impounded for behavioral issues,” said Collett, explaining the feedback from local vets and animal related businesses. “It just provides a good place for people to bring and train their dogs.”

An additional benefit, Fugate said, is appearance.

“Not only whenever employers come here do they look at our downtown, but they also look at our community amenities, so we really feel like a dog park will be something that is a selling point for Hazard and Perry County,” said Fugate. “Having a dog is a fad these days, and we’re here for it.”

“In its infancy, we have a great idea,” said Fugate, stating that the group knows they still have a lot to do before construction can begin. The Fellows, Fugate said, divided the project into four phases: research, data, fundraising and construction. They are currently in the fundraising portion of the project, and are also determining rules and regulations said Fugate.

Fugate said the Fellows are working closely with groups and organizations to make the park a reality. So far, Fugate said, they are working on getting donations and quotes from businesses. Some of the items they are hoping to obtain are fire hydrants, tires, water fountains, benches, things to play on, trees and trash cans. The Fellows said the expected cost is going to be between $17-25,000, depending on how much of their desired items are collected.

Construction of the park, Turner said, is scheduled to be completed by the end of July, and will be located in the Perry County Park.

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