Diggin’ bark park ideas

Owning a pet since this 15-year-old Boy Scout can remember, he pondered expanding an existing dog kennel run before deciding on helping to build a new dog park.

When Wapakoneta City Council members received inquiries about converting some city-owned land into a dog park, Wapakoneta resident Travis Rohrbach said he immediately thought he could help.

“I chose to do a dog park as a possible project because I have owned a dog my entire life and I, personally, am an animal lover,” Rohrbach told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “I just thought it would also be something that would benefit the community because in town there are a lot of people who have dogs but not everyone has a fenced-in yard and you can’t let them off the leash if you don’t have a fence because you will have a dog running at-large.”

Permitting a dog to run at-large can result in accidents such as the dog being hit by a vehicle or the dog biting a person.

Rohrbach, who is a Boy Scout and is developing a dog park proposal to present to his Troop leader, said he thought helping city administrators and councilors develop a dog park would be a way to help the community by providing an area where people can exercise their dogs.

The son of Lisa and Pat Rohrbach said he has been working on an idea for a possible Eagle Scout project. Mixing his love for dogs with the need to have an Eagle project, led the Wapakoneta High School sophomore to contemplate a project focusing on animals.

“I have been looking for an opportunity, looking for where a big community need is and  this opportunity came up,” Rohrbach said. “My first idea was to add to the Humane Society run or something, but when an opportunity arose for a dog park, possibly at Centennial or another city park, I just jumped in and tried to get my plan approved.”

Since the last Wapakoneta City Council Parks and Recreation Committee meeting in May, Rohrbach visited dog parks in Buckland, Celina and Lima. At Wednesday night’s committee meeting, he presented his findings and two possible designs for a dog park in the city.

If his dog park design is approved by city councilors and gains the needed acceptance by the Boy Scouts, Rohrbach would be responsible for developing and presenting a design, raising the necessary funds for its construction and spending time building the park. His preliminary design would be a dog park 100- by 220-feet.

On a three-fold display, he showed pictures of the Buckland, Celina and Lima dog parks and agility equipment for dogs he could build at a minimal cost compared to purchasing the same type of equipment.

He also provided a chart comparing the nearby parks regarding area, waste disposal methods, water source, landscaping and double gates as well as other data.

Rohrbach’s plan includes landscaping at the entrance, a staging area, waste disposal stations and agility equipment.

During the meeting, he told 1st Ward Councilor Jim Neumeier, who chairs the committee, he needs to know where the park would be located and how much acreage could be devoted to the park so he could start working on the project. Neumeier said he would be able to provide a location by Aug. 1.

Neumeier said he was encouraged by Rohrbach’s enthusiasm and the interest by local residents.

“It was an impressive presentation, very nice,” Neumeier said. “I am glad to see a teen has interest in a project like this and his efforts should provide a great service to the city and her residents.”