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Covington's Chimney Park may get off-leash dog area

Covington-The Friends of Newton County Parks' proposal to create a dog park has been shared with the Covington City Council and the reception was pretty positive, said the organization's chair, Melvin Allen.

The dog park would be a fenced in, off-leash area for dogs to play in, Allen said.

“Most of the dog parks you look at online and you see doing research are set up for the owners of the dogs...It’s a place where they can be off-leash, but are confined.”

Currently, he said, there are no dog parks in Newton County.

“I spend a lot of time in the parks, setting up for events, and we see quite a few people walking with their dogs on the trails.”

The plans for the dog park are just in the preliminary stages, Allen said.

“We want to get over the hurdle of making sure Newton County doesn’t have a problem with it," he said. "The recreation board requested we go before the city council.”

The proposal for a dog park came about when a local family contacted the Friends and asked if they could install a memorial for their daughter at Chimney Park.

“That particular request was to put a dog park in Chimney Park,” Allen said. “We looked into it and went in front of the Friend of Newton County Parks Board and there were no objections.”

Allen said they are still trying to determine how much it would cost to fence in an area and install water. Once the costs to build the park are known, they will go back to the family to see how much of the costs will be covered by the memorial fund.

“After that, it will be a fundraiser,” Allen said. “Our board will not do the fundraiser; we’ll leave it up to the family to put together."

“We don’t have the resources in our budget [to pay for the dog park],” Allen said. “We have several priorities, like the marble foundation of the old Patterson home. After the house was burned and torn down, just the ruins and foundation were left. We’d like to make it more of a community place and get flooring inside the old foundation to make it more accessible for people to use."

“There are several areas that need more work that will make it a public attraction,” he said. That includes the work on the main entrance, which is funded. “These are the features of the parks we’re concentrating on right now.”

Chimney Park is a county park. Build on the remains of the old Martin-Patterson house, Newton County acquired the property in the 1980s. The Friends of Newton County Parks hold two fundraisers a year. In December, they sponsor a Twilight event in the park. In May, they sponsor the fairies in the park event.