Make Dog Park Priority for 2014

Let’s hope the local community’s bark regarding the need for a dog park in Wheeling is not worse than its bite in establishing one.

Area residents and our supporters from other places accomplished something truly remarkable this year. In competition against cities from throughout the country, a Wheeling group won $25,000 in a pet store company’s online competition. That happened because supporters of the local dog park outdid many larger cities in casting online votes.

Winning the $25,000 may have been the easy part. Now, a site for the dog park needs to be found.

Jeremy Morris, one of the local residents who established the “Wheeling Needs a Dog Park!” campaign that won the $25,000, told our reporter a good location for the facility has been found. It is along Wheeling’s Heritage Trail in Elm Grove.

But the land is held by a private owner, and it is not certain that person will agree to allow its use for a dog park.

Local residents, some of whom drive as far as Pittsburgh to take their pets to dog parks, have taken the Wheeling project off the “wish list” and made it something that can be accomplished.

Now, city officials should make the dog park a high priority for the new year. Locating a suitable back-up site, already publicly owned, would be a good first step.

PetSafe, the company behind the dog park grant contest, will hold Wheeling’s $25,000 for three years.

That seems like a long time, but in view of the obstacles that need to be overcome, it is not.

Again, city officials should do all in their power to ensure the Wheeling dog park becomes a reality as soon as possible.