Oconto Falls teen to build community dog park

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OCONTO FALLS, Wis. (WBAY) - Oconto Falls will soon have a dog park, thanks to the work of a local teen. The recent high school graduate raised nearly $25,000 to make the project happen.

Construction will start in July on Oconto Falls' first dog park, spearheaded by Emily Gonnering for a Girl Scout project (WBAY photo)

There's barely any room on 17-year-old Emily Gonnering's Girl Scout vest for another patch, but the recent Oconto Falls High School graduate has one last project to finish. She's creating the first dog park in Oconto Falls.

According to Gonnering, "It's for my Girl Scout Gold Award Project, which is the highest achievement that a Girl Scout can earn."

It was last summer when Gonnering decided her hometown needed a dog park, since the closest one was in Howard.

"I want to leave my footprint on the community," says Gonnering, adding, "And it's needed. We have a lot of dogs in the community, and they walk around and they really don't get a chance to run."

Gonnering approached the city council with her idea. She said, "It's going to be a big park, and we're cutting it in half so there's going to be a spot for little dogs and a spot for big dogs."

Interested, the city offered a piece of property for the dog park, but only if Gonnering could raise the $25,000 necessary to bring the project to fruition.

She got to right to work, asking the community for donations while also making and selling homemade dog treats and toys. Fulfilling her promise, construction of the dog park will begin early next month with 1,400 feet of fencing to enclose the area.

"We're going to try and find some fire hydrants so the dogs can relieve themselves in style. We're going to do some leash poles so you can hang your leash on it. Some cute bag poles, so if your dog leaves something behind you can pick it up," says Gonnering.

While she has raised $22,000 of her $25,000 goal, she's still looking for additional donations.

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