By Chris Yow
TRUSSVILLE – How quickly could Trussville have a dog park? The answer is incredibly simple: as quickly as the citizens would like. The city and Park & Rec board delegated a piece of land for the project this week.
A group of citizens have joined together in support of a dog park in Trussville by creating a Facebook group. The group was initially designed for input from the public, but when Jaime Anderson got involved, the project took off.
“Jaime came in and got a lot of things done,” said Joanna Garcia, one of the citizens who started the group.
Anderson said she has spoken with city officials and Trussville Park and Rec. department head, David Vinson, as well as other community leaders, and the project is something everyone agrees is a positive.
Currently, the area of land the group is proposing to use is close to two acres in size, and is in the Cahaba project area across the street from Cahaba Elementary School, next to the sports complex. Parking, road access and water lines are already in place. The only thing missing from opening a park is essentially a fence.
“Once we can get the money, we can order the fence, and the city will put it up,” Anderson said. “Right now, there are enough trees and shade in the area, plus the Cahaba River for the dogs to hang around.”
Fundraising efforts have not begun, but will once the park board decides how funds will be collected.
“We want this to be a transparent, citizen-funded project,” Anderson said. “And we’re thankful for the city’s partnership.”
Garcia added the park would probably be nothing but those trees at first, but it could easily be built around.
“This is our park. We’re going to get out of it what we as a community put into it,” she said. “If we want a bigger, better, fancier park, then we will have to raise money or have items donated.”
One thought was it would give potential Eagle Scouts another opportunity to do their scout projects.
Garcia and Jana Wright essentially came up with the idea of organizing citizens to help because of the fact this will be a citizen-led project. The group isn’t asking for any money from the city, only it’s cooperation with installation of fencing, maintenance of the grass and trash pickup – something the city already does for every other park.
Wright said one of the biggest reasons she wanted to get a dog park built in Trussville was because she was tired of loading up her dogs and having to travel long distances to another city. She mentioned living in Charlotte, NC, which has several impressive dog parks, and said they were helpful in making the city a more attractive place to live, as well as driving up home values.
Anderson said she wanted to make clear that this project would not take away from any other ongoing projects in the city, as this would be a community-based project.
“We’re not trying to take anyone else’s land. We want to use a piece of land the city already owns that can’t be used for anything else. It’s the perfect size,” she said.
Once the park is fenced in, it could potentially open immediately. Garcia, who is a pet care professional and on the board of Bama Bully Rescue, said when that happens, she hopes to be able to educate the public on safety procedures.
“Safety is our biggest concern. Trussville has an incredible community of dog lovers,” Garcia said. “Promoting a safe environment is going to be the top priority. One of my personal goals is to educate people on dog safety and how to be a responsible pet owner.”
The group is planning a community meeting, and it is open to anyone interested in volunteering or donating. The meeting is set for Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. in the Trussville Historical Society/ACTA building. In the meantime, any person with questions may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jaime Anderson at 205-234-4165.
“What our group is really wanting to do is get the community together and see what people can contribute to this project,” Anderson said. “This is going to be the community’s park, built by the citizens.”