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City approves dog park lighting, Lions Club building addition

City commissioners discusses their submissions of requests for Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe allocations Mount Pleasant City Commission Meeting March 25 at City Hall.

Dusk and dawn will not hinder owners and their dogs from enjoying the dog park anymore. 

At its March 25 meeting, Mount Pleasant City Commission approved the installation of light fixtures at Hannah’s Bark Park at 1458 N. Harris St., allowing the park to be more functional to its users during times of low light. 

More than 200 registered members of Friends of the Dog Park pay an annual or weekly fee to use the dog park. The fenced-in area, which has separate spaces for both small and large dogs, is regulated the same as city parks, which are open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the year. A key fob system allows members easy access to the dog park. 

President of Friends of the Dog Park John Scalise said many members of the non-profit organization use the park after work, which creates a problem with lighting, especially during winter months. 

“The challenge for (members) is that sunrise in Michigan can happen in the mornings anywhere between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and sundown in the evenings anywhere from 5:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.,” said Chris Bundy, director of Parks and Public Spaces. “Many (members) have varying work and personal schedules and would like to safely access the dog park when it works best for them and their pets.” 

Members will no longer have a problem with lighting after the commission’s unanimous decision Monday night. All costs for the installation, maintenance and operation of the dog park lighting will be covered by donations to the group. 

Within the next three months, Scalise said the organization will decide between wired or solar-powered lights before beginning to install fixtures in the Spring. 

Scalise and his wife, Lynn Simons, began working on the project in 2011 after their daughter, Hannah Simons-Scalise, passed away from Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.  

However, Hannah had a final request, which would benefit her dog Sophie and other dogs in the area. She insisted the money set aside for a funeral be used to build a dog park instead. In 2015, the park was built. 

“She wished for a place where people and dogs could play,” Simons said. “(Hannah’s Bark Park) has far exceeded our expectations.” 

During the meeting, the city commission also approved the construction of an addition to the Lions Club building at Pickens Field. The addition will provide a storage area for Mount Pleasant Area Youth Softball and Little League. 

The decision to approve the addition was unanimous. 

“This is a really critical partnership with girls' softball and little league, because, as you know children are benefited from organized sports,” said Mayor Will Joseph. “We are going to have storage space, so they are ready to go when the weather a little nicer.”