Scout takes up Wichita dog park project

07/06/2014 5:58 PM

07/06/2014 6:51 PM

Canine visitors don’t have much to discover at the Murfin Animal Care Campus Dog Park near K-96 and Hillside. No trees, no toys, no benches for their human companions. Nothing to sniff but fence, a single fold-out chair and a few patches of grass.

Drew Duncan, on the verge of reaching the rank of Eagle Scout, has taken notice of the sparse area.

“There’s nothing out there,” said Duncan, a senior at Wichita Heights High School. “It’s just a fenced-in area with rocks protruding.”

In order to become an Eagle Scout, Duncan needs to complete a project that aids the community, so “I figured I might as well help out there,” he said. With donations from the public, Duncan said, he plans to build benches for people and tunnels, ramps and hurdles for dogs.

“The dogs will have a place to interact more than they do now,” the 17-year-old said.

Duncan said he visits the park “sporadically” with his three dogs and that many of the park’s human visitors just want a place to sit. Many stay for only 10 or 15 minutes, he said, and never come back.

The Wichita’s Department of Park and Recreation has partnered with Duncan to collect the donations – with a goal of $5,000 – and to help build the structures so they are in accordance with city ordinances, said Stacy Hamm, marketing development director for Park and Recreation.

Murfin Dog Park opened about two years ago, Hamm said. It is adjacent to the Kansas Humane Society and is the newest of the city’s three dog parks; Chapin, off Hydraulic near the Arkansas River, and Meridian Dog Park, near 21st and Amidon, are the other two.

“We think it’s excellent,” Hamm said of the project. “We love the fact that the community loves their parks. Especially the dog parks.”

Checks can be dropped off or mailed to the Park and Recreation office at 455 N. Main. If Duncan reaches his goal, Hamm said, it would be a “wonderful thing” for the dog park.

And, she said, “the dogs love it.”

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