Dog park plans still simmering

Fran Brownell
Many Pratt residents enjoy taking their dogs for walks in City of Pratt parks, and many, like Janis Honeman and her dog, Toby, would like to see plans for a specific dog park put on the fast-track in the near future.

For Pratt dog owners, something to look forward to when life returns to normal after COVID-19 is continued progress on a dog park at Sixth Street Park.

Plans for a dog park have been simmering on the City of Pratt’s back burner since summer 2018, initiated by the donation of fencing specified for use for a dog park in city limits.

“Our Pratt Recreation Advisory Board of community members has been working toward this in the last few months,” said Pratt Recreation Director Larry Eisenhauer.

Advisory Committee Members Barb Prater, Holly Rooks and April Hemphill are working on the grant seeking funds for additional money needed for fencing, dog toys, dog water fountains and benches, Eisenhauer said.

Rooks said they are preparing to submit a $25,000 grant funding request to Pet Safe, headquartered in Knoxville, TN.

Other community members serving on the Pratt Recreation Advisory Board are Brian Arensdorf, Matt Hecker, Angela Gillig, Joe Kramer and Pratt Parks Superintendent Danny Quint, who succeeded retired superintendent Mark Eckoff.

The location already selected for a Pratt dog park is south of the west baseball diamond at Sixth Street Park.

“Committee members see the importance of a dog park in Pratt because it will allow dogs to get exercise and also learn appropriate social behaviors,” Rooks said. “Plus, it’s another place that the community can gather when current restrictions are lifted.”

Rooks, who serves as executive director of South Central Community Foundation, said SCCF will set up a dog park fund to receive donations to help fund the project.

“With the fund, we’re hoping to have enough endowment to maintain the park for years to come,” Rooks said.

In the meantime, although COVID-19 concerns have closed human play areas in Pratt parks, pet owners may still walk their dogs on leash in all city parks.

While walking her eight-year-old Border Collie, Toby, at Sixth Street Park recently, Pratt resident Janis Honeman said she supports the idea of the proposed dog park.

“I think Toby will really love it,” Honeman said.