Dog Park Is For The People, Not The Dogs

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The Town's Parks and Recreation Department has perhaps the most visible impact on our quality of life in Payson. This is evidenced by the crowds of parents and children who use the baseball diamonds, the soccer fields, the swimming pool and other park facilities. We enjoy the summer concerts, the Easter egg hunts, and numerous other recreational activities throughout the year.

As a newspaper staff, we see firsthand the many benefits that come to our community through an active and effective Parks and Recreation Department and we appreciate them.

A grassroots citizens group called "PAWS in the Park" is asking the town to designate a 1.5-acre parcel of land at Rumsey Park for use as an off-leash dog park. Members of this group have agreed to cooperate with the Parks staff to maintain the dog park that would border McLane just north of the new library site. They have also volunteered to raise the necessary money for the infrastructure, which would include a 6-foot fence around the property, water fountains and spigots, benches and any necessary clearing of the land.

This park is not about dogs, it's about people the people who may not ordinarily use town parks for league sports or swim in Taylor Pool. It's about providing a place where people can legally unleash their dogs and enjoy a beautiful day at the park, either playing with them, or just watching them play, while socializing with fellow dog owners. It's about a simple pleasure that adds to the quality of life for people.

We believe this is a neat opportunity to give something back to the residents who support the town government. It's not an expensive project, but like anything worthwhile, there are concerns that must be faced and overcome. These include enforcement of park rules, follow through from PAWS members and users to help maintain the park grounds, and concerns about too many dogs and what effect that might have on groundwater in the area.

One of the first items on the Town Council agenda Thursday will be the possible approval of the Rumsey dog park. We hope the council will look for ways to make it work.

The little things that make a community a quality place to live are not always delivered in a perfectly wrapped package, but are enjoyed once someone has the courage to open them.

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