Plans for Bark Park changing

After some changes to its original plan, Tiffin Bark Park is expected to open by the summer of 2014.

Keith Hodkinson, chairman of Tiffin Bark Park Citizens Committee, said the original plan to open the park in the spring or summer of 2013 was not feasible. The delay allowed members of the committee to reassess its decisions on the bark park, he said.

Hodkinson said a major change to the park’s original plan was the pond, which was a concern for the board.

“It was not going to be feasible to put a pond in because it was just going to be a mess,” he said. “It would end up being dirty; it would end up probably not smelling all that great. Unless we put in a $100,000 filtration system, it was not going to be clean.”

He said he is looking to get a spray ground area, which would have underground plumbing which could spray water up from the ground from different locations.

“I still feel emphatically that the water feature will be the key to us attracting people from the outside area,” Hodkinson said. “Otherwise, we’re just another dog park.”

The spray ground area is to be fenced in, and only dogs would be allowed to use it. There is to be seating inside of the fenced area for owners to watch their dogs, he said.

He said the water used for the spray ground would be clean water, and the spray would run on a timer system a dog owner could set.

“This is what will give us a uniqueness to the bark park,” Hodkinson said.

He said if Tiffin Bark Park has a spray ground area, it would be the only one in this part of the state.

Hodkinson said he asked Lenny Clouse and Clouse Construction Corp. to help with the construction plan of the dog park.

He also said it is important to allow more time for the grass to grow.

“We have to make sure the grass is correct,” he said. “The last thing we want to happen is for us to open up the bark park on grand opening day and we know a lot of dogs are going to come in and they rip all the grass up. Obviously, we don’t want that to happen, so we’re going to wait until it’s the right time. We’re going to do it right.”

The entire dog park project is expected to cost around $190,000, and Friends of Tiffin Bark Park Inc. has raised around $93,000, Hodkinson said.

There is no city funding being used to build the park, he said.

Hodkinson said Jeff Hoyda, Mercy Tiffin Hospital, Reineke Family Dealerships, Republic Lumber, Clouse Electric and other companies are sponsoring different parts of the dog park.

He said the park received a lot of support at a fundraising event at Bob Evan’s Family Restaurant earlier this week.

“I was in there today and they said it was the largest turnout they’ve ever had in all their fundraisers,” Hodkinson said. “The place was packed.”

“In many respects, it was good that we are holding off in letting the grass grow, it gives us time to raise funds,” he said.

He said bark park supporters also will have another 5K run, like last fall.

Hodkinson said the park also is likely to charge an annual fee for dog owners to use the park, which would go toward maintaining the park. He said most nice dog parks charge a fee.

Those who are visiting from out of town, or just using the dog park for one time, would be able to get a guest pass for a fee of around $5.

“We want to keep this maintained,” Hodkinson said. “We want to keep this nice and fresh. This is a reflection for people outside of our area. We want it to look nice.”

He said the park will be a point of attraction for Seneca County, and it will bring many visitors to the area. He said it can also be a place for local people to spend time and socialize.

“My goal has always been to make this just as much a social setting for humans as it (will be) for dogs,” he said.

Anyone looking to support Tiffin Bark Park can purchase a paver for $100, and the park plans to offer $250 sponsorships to hang a plaque with the name of a person or business on the fence around the dog park. Sponsorship forms are available at