Students push for dog park
Their project breathes new life into an idea city leaders rejected last year
A group of fifth-grade students at Adams Elementary are drumming up support for a new dog park.
Students in Ashlea Ahrenholtz 5th grade classroom are holding a bake sale to raise money for a new dog park in Carroll. The bake sale will take place during conferences from 1:30 to 7 p.m. Monday and Thursday in Adams elementary. The bake sale will be set up between the guidance office and the principal’s office on the main floor of the school. Pictured are students (front, from left) Keian Reiter, Kassie Wuebker, Taylor McCranie, Ben Sampson, Cole Ladehoff, Eric Malcom, (second row) Demarquis Heard, Kaylee Schulte, Bennett Sievers, Alexa Schroeder, Kendra Millermon, Makayla Bueltel, Lauren Snyder, (third row) Nantzi Huffman, Maddie Hacker, Hunter Helgerson, Jake Johnson, Tyler Kasperbauer, Jaylynn Vesterfelt, Ashley Onken, Sadie Kokenge and Joe McCartan. Not pictured is Kena Mielk.
Students in Ashlea Ahrenholtz's fifth-grade class will host a bake sale from 1:30 to 7 p.m. today and Thursday during school conferences.
The sale will be held on the main floor of Adams between the principal's and guidance offices.
Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers presented the idea for a dog park to the City Council last January, but members later rejected the proposal.
The council deferred the $30,000 that was going to be used for a dog park to a feasibility study on the baseball stadium.
After the dog park funding was deferred, Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann said there was little support for a taxpayer-funded dog park in Carroll.
"Over the past several months, many among the public indicated to me that there are wiser uses of the money," Siemann said. "Or just save the money back for an emergency, and I concur."
Schweers said the project might carry more weight this time if an outside group comes forward with the idea, especially if that group already has funds raised for the project.
"I was pleasantly surprised that these kids were interested," Schweers said.
For the students, it's not just about raising money for the park - they're learning useful skills.
Student Joe McCartan said he learned how to send professional emails and that he was surprised how much work it takes to get a project like a dog park passed.
Cole Ladehoff said he learned that it's important to say "thank you for your time" to everyone who has helped him.
The class also created lists of what each student will bring to the bake sale and how much each item will cost.
The students decided to raise money for the dog park because the students wanted to do a service project but were short on ideas. Schweers and Ahrenholtz attend the same church, so Ahrenholtz asked Schweers to talk to the class about what it would need to do to contribute money to the dog park and some plans on where a dog park could be built and how much it would cost.
The students have a goal to raise $100 for the dog park project, which is a bit shy of the estimated $30,000 price tag for Schweers' proposal last year. If a dog park is not built, the students want the money to go to the local Animal Rescue League.
Schweers told the students to lobby city council members this year before August, which is when the city's long-term planning begins.
Student Makayla Bueltel said this project is important because people who come to Carroll from a larger city might expect to have a dog park. Other students said dogs need a place to play, and that the value of a house might rise if it's near a dog park.
Most of the students in the class have dogs as pets.
The students also discussed the specifics of the dog parks.
After the bake sale is complete, students plan to write a letter to Purina, a major producer of dog food, to ask for grant money for the park. They also plan to call other cities in Iowa to get more information about existing dog parks and their success.
Students said that a new dog park could cost between $5,000 and $50,000, depending on how much the city was willing to spend.
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