NEW ULM-Build it and they will come.
That's how the Friends of the Brown County Humane Society (BCHS) and Friends of the Dog Park feel about the dog park taking shape at the south end of South German Park.
More than 40 people from the two organizations, plus Comcast employees, their families and friends, put their elbow grease to work Saturday morning, picking up trash, building two pergolas that will provide shade in two fenced-in dog areas and creating dog blankets.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Carter Zinniel, 5, New Ulm distributes muffins to volunteers Saturday morning at the new dog park being built in South German Park.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Dave Norris (left) and Randy Baker of New Ulm help clean up the new dog park site in the end of South German Park Saturday.
Perhaps five-year-old Carter Zinniel of New Ulm had the most fun, peddling muffins and coffee to volunteers with a smile.
"Dogs are part of the family," said Friends of the Dog Park member Cate Macho. "We've already heard from people at Ridgeway on German (a nearby assisted living facility) they're already talking about how nice it will be when the dog park is done and they can come over to the park, see the dogs and watch them run. It's great to watch dogs perform."
Women volunteers made dog blankets to be donated to the BCHS while men raked and picked up bottles and cans in the south end of South German Park which was where city street department employees dumped some of the snow they plowed off city streets this winter.
Other men measured wood planks and built 10 feet by 10 feet and 14 feet by 14 feet pergolas that will provide shade for dogs in 150 feet by 200 feet designated dog areas to be surrounded by a five-foot high fence.
Dog parks are fenced-in, grassy areas for people and dogs to socialize and exercise while being off a leash. They are created to promote responsible dog ownership and help enforce dog control logs, according to the Friends of the New Ulm Dog Park.
The park is being built on city-owned land. It is the responsibility of everyone who uses the park to pick up after their dog, which has worked well in many other communities, according to the organization.
About 18 months ago, South German Park was chosen as the preferred dog park site by the New Ulm City Council due to its remoteness while having access to facilities including a seasonal restroom at the nearby BMX track plus an uphill incline for exercising dogs.
Since then, a variety of fund-raising efforts have generated about $15,000 for the project.
Comcast donated blankets and supplies used to build the pergolas plus a cash donation for each participating volunteer. Comcast project leaders were Larry Hildebrandt, Delaney Landsteiner, Chris Wik and Barb Saffert.
"Comcast has really been generous in helping us, donating more than $1,000 worth of supplies and labor from its employees, family and friends. We hope to have the dog park done by late May," said Dog Park Fundraising Committee member Les Schultz.
"We're powering dreams in our communities today," said New Ulm Comcast Engineering and Operations Manager Larry Hildebrandt. "Supporting the communities we serve and where our employees live and work is what we're about."
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.