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Henderson residents discuss possible dog park

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
Nov. 30, 2012 at 10 p.m.

HENDERSON - If a Henderson couple has their way, their town will have its first dog park.

Denise Burns-Nix and James Nix believe the proposal would be a boon to families who could combine a trip to the playground for their children with a chance to exercise their dogs.

They have suggested Fair Park as a location, as it is the most centrally located of the city's parks.

"We have one dog and are planning to get another larger one soon," Burns-Nix said. "Under the current laws in Henderson, dogs have to either be in a fenced yard or on a leash. We think dogs need a place where they can run unfettered and socialize with other dogs."

The couple conducted an informal survey of people they've seen walking dogs in or near Fair Park and said, so far, the idea of a dog park has met with overwhelming approval.

"We've probably talked to at least 100 people, and they've all been very excited and enthusiastic about the idea of a dog park," she said.

Stragent Dog Park in Longview, which opened in 2011, provided the inspiration for the idea of a Henderson dog park, although Nix said they understand one built in Henderson would probably have to be smaller.

"We took our dog, Marley, there and she just seemed to be in heaven," he said. "She ran around, came back to look at us like making sure this was really OK, then just kept running and playing and meeting up with other dogs."

While they like the centrality of Fair Park, the couple said they won't be picky about the location if the City Council chooses to back a dog park. Lake Forest Park, near the Henderson Civic Center, is larger.

"We just believe this is an option that could increase tourism and perhaps serve as incentive for people to move here," Nix said. "Not too many cities of our size have a dog park, so it would be a definite drawing card."

While Mayor Pat Brack said it's too early to make a decision on the proposal, she has asked City Manager Mike Barrow to gather information from other cities with similar parks.

"This is the first time such a suggestion has been presented to the council, so it's obviously something we need to study and discuss," Brack said. "While I like the idea, we'd have to figure out a way to pay for it and make sure it wasn't disrupting the other uses of the park."

Barrow and Brack said it would probably be several months before they would have the information needed to discuss the possible project in more depth.



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