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Baraboo dog park gets grant for rain garden

August 29, 2018

A $5,000 grant will help Baraboo’s low-lying dog park better handle rain and prevent pets from getting soaked.

Tennessee-based PetSafe recently announced $225,000 in grants to communities looking to build dog parks or enhance the ones they have. Baraboo’s grant will be used to plant a rain garden to hold water at Liston Dog Park.

“Our goal is to not only make a functional improvement, but aesthetic as well, possibly doubling as a butterfly/pollinator garden and a visual point of interest,” said Parks Director Mike Hardy.

“The Bark for Your Park program is all about finding enthusiastic, pet-loving communities that support green spaces, with civic leaders who want to improve their communities and encourage responsible pet ownership,” said Willie Wallace, CEO of Radio Systems Corp., parent company of the PetSafe brand. “Dog parks provide a venue and opportunity for dogs to get vital exercise and socialization, which are two major factors in reducing behavior issues.”

Hardy applied for the grant last spring. The 8-year-old dog park’s construction was funded by fees developers pay when building in the city, with private fundraising paying for improvements.

The dog park was built off Hill Street on the city’s south side, only inches above the water table. During wet years like the one currently under way, the dog park is riddled with puddles and mud. “One drawback of the park is that it has become so popular and successful that the wet areas get worn down easier,” Hardy said.

In the past park staff have fenced off a 20-foot-by-30-foot lower section of the park, but Hardy sought a permanent solution. “We don’t have a lot of options, as the water table is so high already,” Hardy said, “so creating a permanent ‘holding’ without taking up too much of the open area is our goal.”

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