BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A new concrete path was poured Wednesday as part of on-going improvements to the city’s Canine Corral dog park.
The off-leash dog activity park was opened almost a year ago behind the heavy work of a five-woman committee, volunteers, and lots of donations.
“There’s just way too many donors to list so I just want to thank them all as a whole. We couldn’t have done any of this without them,” said committee chairwoman Donna Amandus.
Amandus is also the city’s 3rd Ward City Council representative.
The committee includes Sharman Steeples, Patrice Jordan, Linda Smith, Anne Heitz, and Amandus.
The new concrete path is just part of the overall plan to have walking paths throughout the park. The first phase is about 100 feet that runs from the entry way parallel to the fence and then turns north on the big dog side of the park.
Amandus said eventually she would like to have the path go all the way to the north fence so pet owners can follow their pets when the ground is soft or snow covered. A similar path is planned for the small dog side of the park on the east part of the grounds. Both paths are ADA designed to be ADA compliant.
Amandus said the committee is also working to find sponsors for two 12 foot by 14 foot shelter houses, one on each side of the park.
“We’re looking for companies or families to sponsor those at $2,500. Last year we probably could have built them cheaper, but with material prices on the rise, these are going to cost more now,” she said.
She also said the group is still selling bricks and pavers for the entry way and those start at $100 for a stamped brick or $250 for a stamped paver.
Anyone wishing to donate to the shelter house or bricks can contact Amandus directly at 319-470-4881, or send a check to Amandus at 412 24th Street. Checks should be written out to FMEDC with “dog park” in the memo line.
The labor for the concrete paths was donated by employees of Matt’s Greenhouse who wanted to give something back to the community. The workers are part of the federal H-2A temporary agriculture worker’s program that allows foreign nationals to work in the United States on temporary bases to do specific agricultural work.
A matching donation fundraiser to generate $10,000 was held this spring to raise the funds for the materials. A private donor matched up to $5,000. Amandus said the group has about $12,000 on hand and will use those funds to pay for the concrete and make additional improvements at the park, including the shelters.
“We have about twelve grand in the bank right now. Concrete will take some of that out, but because we saved so much with volunteer labor. We’ll be able to put both shelter houses up this year,” Amandus said.
“We also have 10 benches that have been donated and those will be put in as soon as the pads are poured.” she said.
She said all the benches have been donated individually or as memorials.
The park is open from dawn to dusk and is located just off 15th Street south of the Tri-State Rodeo arena.