JACKSON, Mich. — Downtown Jackson is getting a bit of positive news.
"In a year's time we are going to see a dog park take shape here," said city of Jackson Public Information Officer Aaron Dimick.
Earlier this year, longtime resident Betty Dahlem-Desbians passed by the area at Van Buren and Blackstone streets formerly known as Beechtree Park and saw an opportunity she couldn't refuse.
"She saw a man and his dog actually using this area and she thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if that dog was able to roam free?'" Dimick said.
Dahlem-Desbians donated $70,000 to the Jackson Parks and Recreation Department to turn the space into a dog park.
"We're going to see a big transformation here at the future Betty's Dog Park. We're going to see whole new fencing brought in...high fencing so dogs can't escape. There's going to be multiple gates so when dogs are romping around they don't run out," said Dimick.
Some nearby residents have expressed concerns on social media about the neighborhood surrounding the park.
"If you read Facebook comments some people are wondering why it is being placed here of all places...once something is made a public park it's not like we can just put a gas station here or turn it in to a different use. Once land is set aside for a public park, it has to stay a public," said Dimick.
Jared Moore lives at an apartment complex next door to the soon-to-be dog park. He is tentatively optimistic.
"As long as people maintain their dogs. Right now there are certain people who just let their dogs loose here anyway which is not good. They should always be on a leash," Moore said.
Jackson County Animal Control has no concerns about animal issues at the park.
"We have had no issues to my knowledge. Most people that do go out and take advantage of the outdoor trails and parks keep their dogs on a leash," said Jackson County Animal Control Officer Shawn Lutz.
Construction on the new dog park is set to begin in spring. The project will add picnic tables, gates, lighting and separate areas for big dogs and small dogs.
Click here to see the proposed layout.
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