First dog park unleashed

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

Tuolumne County's first dog park, under construction not far off Greenley Road in Sonora, is nearing completion.

The Sunrise Rotary Dog Park is being built by volunteers and is awaiting some finishing touches. It has quietly opened to the public, with local dog owners using the large and small dog runs at the Covey Circle park.

The Sonora Sunrise Rotary Club recently completed the fencing for the runs, which include enclosed access areas to unleash the dogs, as well as benches and shade trees.

Eventually, the dog park will also have water fountains for drinking and trash receptacles for cleaning up after the dogs, said Del Hodges, who is working on the park with Rotary.

"As far as we're concerned, it's open," he said. "It's getting a lot of use."

When complete, the park will include the dog runs, a community garden and children's playground equipment. The garden includes almost 20 beds with irrigation and a nearby bee box for pollination. It has been open for more than a year, and Hodges said there is currently a waiting list for people interested in renting a plot.

Remaining work includes fencing and equipment for the children's play area, another bench, some final work on the dog run and the parking area.

Hodges said they are hoping to have the fence for the children's area complete in a couple of weeks.

The project has been ongoing since 2010 and is supported entirely by donations and volunteers from the community and local contractors. The Sunrise Rotary has also held multiple fundraisers for the park, progress on which has been limited to the resources on hand.

The organization will also fund landscaping and equipment maintenance at the park, and Hodges said they are still looking for some help. The play area fence itself will cost between $5,000 and $6,000, and the park's website lists a number of items for which the Rotary still seeks donations including children's hand painted tiles and engraved cement pavers.

"And we could still use some more cash," Hodges said.

For more information on the Sunrise Rotary Dog Park or to donate, visit www.sunriserotarydogpark.org.

11899750
The Union Democrat
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