Conway residents hope contest can fund new dog park

akelley@thesunnews.comApril 21, 2013 

— Dogs and their owners may find a new place to play in Conway.

Conway residents Nora and James Battle are leading the charge to get a dog park in the river city and hope Conway can win a contest by PetSafe, an invisible fencing company, to help fund the construction of the park.

Nora Battle said the city is full of dog owners who could use a dog park.

“A dog park provides a safe place for dog owners to socialize and interact with their pets,” she said. “It’s also beneficial to non-dog owners that enjoy Conway’s public recreation areas now like the Riverfront Park which currently is one of the best choices for pet owners to exercise their dogs.”

Conway City Council is on board and supports the idea, said Mayor Alys Lawson. She said the council agrees a dog park would be a great amenity to further improve quality of life in the city.

Nora Battle said it’s more than just a dog project.

“My husband and I both love the city of Conway and we feel it’s dog park is a great way for people to get out and meet their neighbors,” she said. “I view it not as a dog project but as a community project.”

With council’s support and growing community support, funding is the only hurdle.

Lawson said council discussed the addition of a dog park during its budget retreat, but couldn’t set aside the money for a capital project like the park.

Construction of the park is an estimated $41,000.

Land hasn’t been earmarked for a dog park in the city, but Lawson said there are a handful of parcels that could work.

The contest the Battles hope Conway could win is called “Bark for your Park” and launches May 1. One city will be awarded $100,000 with four others receiving $25,000. Winning the contest will require community support through votes on the PetSafe website and Facebook. Winners are expected to be announced July 31, according to PetSafe.

The Battles are using social media to drum up support for the park ahead of the contest and set up a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/conwaydog/theconwaydogparkproject. On Friday, the page, which had been up about a week, had more than 500 fans.

“I feel like the support and desire for a dog park is there,” Nora Battle said. “We just need to come up with a way to fund this fantastic community project.”

Lawson said the city administrator and the parks and recreation department are researching what is required from the city to participate in the contest. She said council expects to learn that information during a workshop the first week of May.

If funding comes through, it would be the fourth dog park in the area with two already in the city of Myrtle Beach and one in Surfside Beach.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.

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