The City of Eaton Rapids Quality of Life Board is pleased to welcome a new social outlet for Eaton Rapids residents. Central Bark is the newest addition to the greater Eaton Rapids area park culture. Located on West Street by the Eaton Pine Village, Central Bark is currently little more than a fenced in area with a couple of benches. Soon it will have hoops, ramps, obstacles, and a key fob system for registered users.

The idea and funding for the dog park began with Bud and Mary Maxey and the Eaton Rapids Civitan Club. Everything that exists currently at the dog park is due to their hard work. Central Bark entertains a dozen or so daily users, according to Quality of Life Director Troy Stowell. With the upcoming installation of more play equipment for dogs, Stowell hopes more residents will utilize the park.

“Our plan is a grand opening celebration in late May,” said Stowell.

While doggy entertainment and exercise is important to Stowell and the Quality of Life board, what’s most important are the benefits for residents. There are plenty of places where dogs can be walked and played with throughout the downtown. What Stowell hopes to create with the dog park is a new social outlet for dog lovers and owners. There are programs and events for many groups of people. While the Quality of Life board can’t be all things for all people, the generous donation of a dog park from the Maxeys allows the city to provide for another subculture of residents.

Central Bark will require membership applications. Dogs will have to pass the application process before owners can buy the $10 key fob for access to the park. The key fob system is to ensure that safe, approved dogs are the only ones that have entry. The park currently does not have breed restrictions, but access is prohibited to dogs without license tags, unregistered dogs, dogs in heat, dogs under four months of age, and dogs with contagious diseases or external parasites. The safety of pets and pet owners is as important to the Quality of Life Board as pet entertainment and pet owner social interaction.

Stowell hopes to provide programs such as dog fitness, dog training, and dog clubs with the introduction of the park. The park membership will also include discounts for seniors, students, and military and service dogs. To learn more about the park and follow events readers can visit the City of Eaton Rapids Facebook page.