Couple pushes forward on dog park project for Powhatan

New friends Fletcher, left, and Lilli play in the dog park at Rockwood Park, the model for a dog park a local couple wants to see built in Powhatan.

POWHATAN – A local couple who spent decades serving the community through their work with the Powhatan Volunteer Rescue Squad is now turning their attention to helping some of the county’s four-legged residents.

Lynne and Allen Beach of Powhatan are two of the main champions behind the idea of building a public dog park in the Village area so people with dogs can bring them for some time to run and play with other dogs.

The idea was inspired by the couple’s love for their 2-year-old German Shepherd, Tanner, whom they often shuttle to the dog park in Rockwood Park in Midlothian so he can interact with other dogs, Lynne Beach said.

“Tanner gets all the love and affection he needs from us on a daily basis, but he needs to have interaction with other dogs. They run and play, and by the end of about an hour, he is exhausted but it is a good exhausted. It's his fun, it keeps him young, healthy and happy,” she said.

So the couple did their research and brought a proposal and design based on Rockwood’s dog park to Powhatan County to see if it could be a viable idea for Fighting Creek Park.

Ramona Carter, director of public works, said the idea was met positively by county staff when the couple proposed it last year.

“We thought it was a great idea. I brought that idea to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission and they liked the idea so well that we included it in our (fiscal year) 2020 Capital Improvement Program requests,” she said.

However, the dog park, which Beach projected will cost about $45,000, was not recommended for funding in the CIP for FY 2020, Carter said.

Rather than wait to see if the dog park could get funding next year or even several years down the road, the Beaches are starting a private effort to get the job done. They will hold their first fundraiser next week. A spaghetti dinner fundraiser will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at Four Seasons Restaurant, 3867 Old Buckingham Road, Powhatan. The cost is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For more information, call or text Lynne Beach at 804-240-4518.

The design of the dog park would see two equal-size large fenced in areas that could be alternated so neither side would be overused. There would also be a small fenced in area for small dogs under 30 pounds.

The bulk of the cost for the dog park would pay for fencing ($20,000) and a gravel parking lot ($20,000), according to the couple’s presentation. The rest of the money would be used to for water bowls and buckets, a water hydrant, poop bags, a roll bag dispense, shade, trash cans, a water line, benches, signs, and a storage shed.

Carter pointed out that all of these numbers are up-front costs associated with building the dog park. The county would still have to account for the maintenance of the dog park since it would be on county property.

The proposed site for the dog park is on a field owned by the county near the Powhatan Animal Shelter as a practice field, Carter said. If the plan to extend Mann Road and connect it to Old Plantation Road is ever executed, the dog park could become part of an extended Fighting Creek Park.

Locating the dog park near the animal shelter would hopefully have added benefits for the animals there, Beach said. The dogs being held at the animal shelter could be brought there for exercise and socialization.

“I think it is going to be a win-win for everybody. Maybe more dogs will be adopted from animal control,” she added.

Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.

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