Goshen Dog Park Gets Warm Reception

October 11, 2016 Updated: October 11, 2016

GOSHEN—When she took on building a dog park in Goshen over a year ago, Kelly Fellenzer didn’t know what she was getting herself into.

A self-described animal lover, she started with a wish to do something for animals in her community, and after a brainstorm session with village Mayor Kyle Roddey came up with the idea of a dog park for her Girl Scout Gold Award project, the equivalent of an Eagle Scout project.

Kelly admits it was more ambitious than most, but with immense support from the community, both donors and volunteers, it finally came together. 

“It’s honestly a dream come true,” she said.

She, her dog Shadow, and over dozen friends, family, and supporters gathered at the newly opened park Oct. 10 to celebrate its official opening with cider, donuts, and Kelly’s homemade dog treats that she sold in local stores as a fundraiser. 

Kelly is in her senior year of high school, and along with homework, was balancing lacrosse, and college applications and work on her pet project.

She recalled some late nights where her parents made her coffee just so she could finish her homework after spending the afternoon working on the dog park. “Tired mornings but great memories,” she said with a little laugh.

After going back and forth about the feasibility of her plan with Goshen’s Joint Recreation Commission, the park is the size she originally proposed because she was able to exceed her funding goal. 

“As the community fed off the idea and supported it, it became so much bigger than it was planned to be, which is amazing,” Fellenzer said. 

The almost one-acre dog park is located behind the old Salesian seminary building in Salesian Park and consists of a 5-foot fence, four agility centers, a doggie bag dispenser, and some signage that gives the rules of the park.

Kelly had plans for flowers and benches as well, but when she found out she had to put a metal bar along the bottom of the fence to keep mischievous dogs from burrowing under, it swallowed up all $15,000 she had fundraised. 

It was also one of the reasons the park opened almost four months later than they expected, she said. The other reason was that they had to wait for the sign that labeled it the Goshen Dog Park, and its dedication to Paul E. Wright, a former music teacher in Goshen who loved to walk his dogs in the park. His grandson made a large donation with the request that his grandfather’s name be put on the park.

During the opening, village resident Jill Christensen was enjoying the park with her dog, a 1.5-year-old boxer mix named Mirabelle. She had been using it over a week after her neighbor, Susan Armistead, tipped her off that the park had opened in late September.

She said she used to take Mirabelle for walks on the road or to the dog park in Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Montgomery, and enjoys having a dog park so close to home.

“[Mirabelle’s] a boxer mix, so the running is very important and she gets to do that here,” Christensen said. “She’s happier than I’ve ever seen her.”

The dog park is open from 30 minutes after sunrise till 30 minutes before sunset.

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