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Nymore dog park chases after fundraising goal

The sign is up as construction is planned for a new dog park on the eastern edge of Nymore Park. (Shown above) Leon Hesby walks his dog, Odin, along the trail around the park on Thursday morning.

BEMIDJI -- After raising $16,000 over five years toward building a dog park on the south end of Nymore Park, fundraisers finally have enough money to start building a space for man's best friend in Bemidji.

Construction is expected to start after the city determines what kind of soil is underneath the area. The Nymore Dog Park Committee hopes to have the park up and running by fall, member Ann Campbell said.

Campbell said the feedback they've been getting from Bemidji dog owners has been "extremely positive." The new dog park will provide an economic boost, as well, because tourists want a spot to give their pets some fresh air, she said.

"The businesses are super excited because.. they're asked all the time, 'Do you have a dog park?'" she said.

The multi-acre park will feature two fenced-off open spaces -- one each for small dogs and larger dogs -- as well as a water fountain, benches and bag dispensers for handling waste, Campbell said. Once the park is finished, the city of Bemidji will maintain it.

The annual 5K Run/Walk the committee has been holding in past years in August will likely not take place this year since the park's grand opening will hopefully be held that month, she said.

Campbell said the group is hoping to replicate the $6,000-success it had last year with selling dog-photo calendars. Although the park itself is fully funded, the committee still is fundraising for some added extras such as a shelter.

Bemidji dog owners can enter for the chance that their furry friends will be in next year's calendar by sending a picture of their pooch to the Bark for the Park Photo Contest and encouraging their friends and family to vote for their photo. Voting "costs" $1 per vote, and participants can enter/vote at The contest runs through May 31.

Campbell said there's even the idea of commissioning local artists to build an oversize decorative fire hydrant for the dogs to ... irrigate.

"We've talked to them, and they're excited about getting that process started," Campbell said of artists and the hydrant idea.

Zach Kayser
Zach Kayser covers local government and city issues for the Pioneer. He previously worked for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, and is an alumni of the University of Minnesota, Morris. 
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