Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

A four-year campaign to create a park just for pooches is turning into reality in Baker City.

A contractor is building fences this week near Sam-O Swim Center, 580 Baker St.

“I’m just very excited that it’s come to fruition,” said Gail Duman, a former Baker City councilor and current member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

The park, which will include two separate areas — one for smaller or timid dogs and the other for bigger dogs — will open later this spring.

Duman, who has been promoting the dog park plan since 2014, said she hopes the park is fully open by May 5, which is National Dog Park Day.

Joyce Bornstedt, the technical administrative supervisor for the city who is overseeing the project, said Tuesday that the May 5 goal is “very attainable.”

Duman said she’s eager to have a place to exercise her own Border collie — besides her backyard that’s damp and muddy from recent rain.

“I can’t wait to go somewhere else with my dog,” Duman said.

Baker City does not have a park set aside for dogs, but building a dog park is listed as a goal in the city’s 2015 Parks Master Plan. The sites identified in the plan are city-owned parcels adjacent to Sam-O.

In a 2012 survey that drew 150 responses, 35 percent of the people listed a dog park as one of the amenities they would like to see within the next five years. A dog park ranked fourth-highest on the list, behind picnic areas (45 percent of respondents); playgrounds (46 percent) and walking/biking trails (66 percent).

The key moment in the fundraising campaign happened last year when the local group Partners for Paws received a $25,000 grant from PetSafe.

“That really got the ball rolling,” Duman said.

The project has also received donations totaling about $2,400, Bornstedt said.

The estimated $30,000 park will be built without any money from the city, she said, although city workers have done some design work and other tasks at the park site, including excavating for a sprinkler system.

The city hired A1 Construction Fence & Deck of Pendleton to install the 5-foot-high cyclone fencing, at a cost of $15,719, Bornstedt said.

The park has two areas:

• The area for smaller or timid dogs measures 175 feet by 80 feet (14,000 square feet) and is on the west side of the basketball courts. That property is part of the nearly 1-acre site the city identifies as Sam-O Park South. The area east of the basketball courts will remain undeveloped, Bornstedt said.

• The area for larger dogs is east of the swimming pool parking lot and north of the skate park, and is part of the 2.86-acre Sam-O Park North parcel. The larger dog area is about twice as large as the other area.

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