Board considers park for dogs in Jasper

Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — Residents who own dogs would like to have a park for their pets to run around in, a Jasper man told the Jasper Park and Recreation Board on Tuesday afternoon.

“How well would it be used? I don’t know for sure,” resident Jim Wagner told the board. “Would it be used? I can almost guarantee yes.”

Wagner, who works for a cable company, said he encounters a lot of new residents with dogs and asks them about their thoughts on a dog park. “Today, I was in at least three houses where they had dogs,” he said. “I had everybody say to me that they thought it was a good idea.”

“I’ve been in several of your homes. So I know there are some dog lovers up there,” Wagner said to board members, who chuckled.

Park Director Ken Buck said the idea was brought up years ago, but never pursued. “The thought was that we were in a rural area and there was plenty of room for people to walk their dogs, unlike in Indianapolis and Chicago,” Buck said. “But it may be the time to have one.”

While there is green space in Jasper, dogs must be walked on a leash. “A lot of people like to jog and run,” Wagner said, “and you can’t do that on a leash.”

Also, he said, natives likely would have relatives here who have open land. “My dad grew up in St. Anthony, and I know I can take my dogs out there and let them run,” Wagner said. “People moving into Jasper don’t have that luxury.” For those who do go to relatives’ land, he said, there could still be a risk of dogs running onto the roads and getting hit.

Buck said he will check with other communities with dog parks to see how they are run. Carie Dick, director of Older Americans, said the current Dubois County Leadership Academy class also is looking into creating such a park in the county.

There is a dog park in Huntingburg. It is 1 acre fenced off in Southside Park, on South Park Drive.
People who use the dog park pay a $25 annual fee and receive a key card to get into the park.

“I think it’s pretty popular,” Dale Payne, Huntingburg’s park maintenance foreman, said this morning. “The evening times are the busiest. There will be people using it during the day, but those are usually retired people.”

The department used fencing left from other projects to make the park’s enclosure. New fencing will be installed in the next year or two, he said. The department also installed an electric key pad, a bench and a fake fire hydrant in the park.

“There were very few materials we had to buy for the park,” Payne said. “If you have to buy a new fence, that could be expensive.”

Payne guessed that about four or five dogs are in the park at a time. “You don’t see a whole lot of dogs at one time,” he said. “Dog owners are very particular about their dogs, though some may let their dogs play with others. You may see three or four dogs in there and someone walking their dog outside the park until someone leaves.”

Wagner told the Jasper park board that he has never used the park in Huntingburg, though he knows of some Jasper residents who do take their dogs there.

“I’ve never used the park because I didn’t want to drive all the way over there,” he said. “I know it’s not that far, but I didn’t feel like I would go over there to use it enough.”

Wagner said he believes he could get donations for the fence. “I feel like this would be inexpensive to do if the city already owns land,” he said.

The park board was receptive to the idea. President Roger Seger tabled the discussion until more research can be done on where a park could be located and how big it should be.

“In my own mind, the more acres the better,” Wagner said. “But it’s just an acre, an acre is better than nothing.”

Contact Candy Neal at

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