When Ryan Mitchell moved to Newport six years ago, the first place he met people was at a park area with his dog.
That area has become somewhat of an unofficial dog park. But with some hard work, Mitchell and his wife Sarah have led a group of Newport residents to raise money for a fence to make the dog park safer for the animals.
It's been over a year and half, but after several fundraisers and canvasing the community for donations, they have raised almost $15,000 and plan to have the fence constructed by the end of summer.
The dog park
, on Fourth Street and Providence Way, is in the heart of the Newport Historic District, so if fencing was to go up, it had to be a decorative fence to match the area.
The group has held fundraisers at local businesses and contacted businesses about donating money and services to get the fence built. The grassroots effort has been led by Mitchell and his wife, along with a group of about 15 other citizens who meet to plan fundraisers and find bids for construction.
On top of the money raised for the fence, the group has also raised nearly $10,000 worth of material donations for the dog park.
"Everybody in the community has been very supportive of the idea," Mitchell says. "We've kept everybody informed, and it's brought the community together."
Mitchell says the need for the dog park comes from the small yards that many of the homes have, but it will also create a more vibrant social center for the area.
The dog park will be right next to a garden club, which works on projects to beautify the neighborhood, and a pool club that is packed with children from the area, both which have created social centers for the tight-knit, walkable neighborhood.
"This area was the first place I looked to meet people when I moved here," Mitchell says. "The dog park can help make it more attractive. It's nice to know the community has a place where they know they can gather."
Contact Mitchell about the dog park here
By Evan Wallis