Garrettsville – A boy and his dog have brought a dog park to Garrettsville.
Owen Bass got a puppy, Biscuit, last year. Soon the then-10-year-old was frustrated by the realization he couldn’t take Biscuit outside without worrying the dog might run away. They had experienced the protected fun of a dog park by Sunny Lake in Aurora. Why couldn’t he bring a dog park to Garrettsville?
Owen and his parents, Paul and Kim, soon posed that question to Village Council and Garrettsville Planning Commission, submitting Owen’s dog park design for consideration. Meanwhile, Owen established a Go Fund Me page and also secured a $10,000 donation from Bruce Abraham, owner of Charles Auto. Additional local businesspeople, politicians, construction workers and suppliers soon began promising their time, resources and expertise to make Owen’s dream of a dog park come true.
Thanks to Abraham’s seed money, construction of the Charles Abraham Dog Park began last fall. It is named in honor of Abraham’s father, who both established the car dealership 60 years ago and dedicated himself to numerous philanthropic causes to strengthen the community before his passing in 2011.
The dog park is established on a shady hill at the rear of Village Park (recently rededicated as Phelps Park) near Garrettsville Library off South Street. Best Buy Fence donated labor for erecting extensive chain-link fencing just a stone’s throw from Portage Parks’ Headwaters Trail, where dog owners typically walk their dogs. The dog park offers two secure spaces where dogs can play free from the leash. Doggie doo bags and a trash can are conveniently located by the adjacent parking lot.
This spring, construction will begin on a pavilion to be set under the trees inside the dog park, where owners can sit on benches overlooking the ball fields below. Mike Patterson’s Creative Concrete Impressions Inc. will donate their labor for the cement base. Rob Warren Construction will donate time to build the shelter, and Lenny Barcikoski — manager of Chardon and Middlefield Carter Lumber stores — is donating the wood for the pavilion. Signage will be provided by The Villager. Johanna Teresi’s Four-Legged Scholars, LLC is donating a dog waste station.
Even though the dog park project is far from completion, it has already become a popular hangout for local dogs and their owners, bringing lively fun to an otherwise unused space. Once the pavilion is completed, a grand opening is on tap for later this spring.
Owen says he’s only just begun. He also wants to add an obstacle course to the dog park. Then he’ll be ready to set his sights on another civic-minded goal: to bring a public swimming pool to town. That may seem ambitious, but his track record brings the dream into clearer focus.
Owen’s mother realizes that even greater things are in her son’s future. Kim laughs, “You may be looking at the future mayor of Garrettsville!”