By LEAH DEARBORN
PEABODY — If all goes according to plan, the city’s first off-leash dog park will be ready for use next fall.
Jennifer Davis, director of the Peabody Recreation, Parks and Forestry Department said an old warehouse building near the skate park on Emerson Park off Perkins Street will be torn down to make way for the dogs.
“I would love it to be earlier, but that depends on funding,” said Davis about the project. “But it’s coming along and we’re excited about it.”
The project is still waiting on grant funding before it can proceed. The department has applied for a two-part grant that focuses on design and construction.
The grant, which Davis wouldn’t name until the application’s finalization, doesn’t cover the entire project. A 10 percent match of funds from the department will be required.
Davis said at this point, the city is not contributing any money toward the completion of the dog park.
A group of residents called Friends of Peabody Dog Park has been conducting a fundraising campaign on the website Fundly.com to close the fundraising gap of $25,000 out of an estimated total expense of $250,000 for the park.
Davis said there should be more clear information about how the park is being funded after New Year’s and that the final cost will depend partly on the chosen design.
Besides the initial site selection, Davis said no final decisions have been made about design or construction. “It’s for dogs both large and small,” she said. A designer hasn’t been hired, but the director is optimistic that the dog park will be a marked improvement to the warehouse standing on the site.