Dog Park Economic Development Tool

Among the goals of those developing a new comprehensive plan for Wheeling is attracting young professionals to our city. A group of dedicated community leaders and city officials this week revealed a plan that will help in that regard.

Community involvement set the stage. Last year, the PetSafe company held a contest, “Bark for Your Park,” in which towns and cities throughout the country could compete to win money for dog parks. Those receiving the most online votes were awarded funds.

Wheeling was the national runner-up in the contest, winning $25,000.

That was just the first step in providing a dog park for Wheeling, however. As Jeremy Morris, co-founder of the Wheeling Dog Park Association, told us, locating a suitable site for the park proved to be a challenge.

This week it was announced local officials have agreed to use city property at the Tunnel Green Recreation Complex for the park.

It is expected the facility can be open by next spring or summer.

That is excellent news, and not just for local pet owners.

When young professionals are looking for places to live and work, they look for certain amenities. Dog parks fall into that category.

Obviously, it will take more than just a dog park to bring people to Wheeling. But it certainly can be part of a package of quality of life attractions that will be an economic development tool.

Congratulations, then, to all involved in obtaining money for the dog park and finalizing site plans. Wheeling needs more of that kind of thoughtful leadership in the future.