Dog owners and lovers have something to look forward to, as organizers are working to kick off an initiative to create an Elkin dog park, tying it in with the ever-popular E&A Rail Trail movement.
Friends of the Elkin Dog Park, a nonprofit which has been created to head up the new initiative, has a mission “to increase the quality of life for dogs and owners in the Elkin Valley by building and promoting a safe space for our dogs to play off leash and socialize,” explained Stephanie Graff in a recent email circulating. “This will be a welcoming space for two- and four-legged friends.”
An informational and organizational meeting is scheduled for Thursday beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Elkin Public Library for anyone interested in being part of and learning more about this initiative, Graff said Friday in a phone interview.
“My husband Nick and I moved here about three years ago, and we thought adding a dog park would be a great asset to Elkin. It had everything else we were looking for,” she said. “We happened to meet Bill Blackley three years ago at the farmers market and mentioned the idea to him. He encouraged us to take it up.
“It’s been a slow process, but it is now finally gaining some momentum,” Graff said.
Land just northwest of the first foot bridge at the old shoe factory dam on the E&A Rail Trail has been donated by Jack Partin for the project. “There will be access from the the trails and we will have parking access for those driving in as well,” Graff said.
“He’s got a big parcel he’s left open to us,” Graff said of Partin’s generous donation. “A lot [of the design] will be determined by the board. We are hoping to secure two acres fenced in with a section for small dogs and another for large dogs with a gate in-between.”
An old well on the property will provide water access for people and dogs, and Graff plans to have doggy pools available for the summer months so they can splash around.
“Our main goal of the meeting is to keep getting the word out. We want to share all the information we have to this point and gather interest in people to pool our resources, and for networking and collaborating,” she said. “We are wanting to form a board [for the nonprofit], because once it’s established we will be able to iron out the details and begin fundraising.”
The first steps will be clearing some of the land and working on fencing, Graff said, adding that Thursday’s meeting will include a small PowerPoint to go over where the land is, and Partin sharing information about the land. Then questions will be answered by those who may have them.
“We’ve been setting up at the farmers market and so far we’ve had a pretty good response,” Graff said.
The group has a Facebook page, Friends of the Elkin Dog Park, and a website, elkindogpark.org. “This will be a whole community effort with fundraising and volunteer,” Graff said. “If we can all work together, this can be really great for Elkin.”
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.