Look for more games of fetch this year.

Fort Campbell's first dog parks should open this summer, said public works director Jim Duttweiler.

The project is still in the design phase. But plans call for two enclosed areas, one on the north side along Glider Road and the other south at Kentucky Avenue and First Street.

"It's a good thing for dogs to have a chance to run and get some exercise," Duttweiler said.

Each pooch playground will stretch about two acres and be near a housing community. A fence will completely surround the park, limiting access to a double gate. The plans also account for parking.

Duttweiler credited Garrison Commander Col. Frederick Swope for proposing the dog park. Swope observed that although thousands of Fort Campbell households owned dogs, there was no space bigger than a backyard to run in.

Out in public, owners are required to keep dogs on a leash at all times.

Mary Vowell's arm was reminded of those rules recently as her yellow Labrador retriever mix, Duke, pulled her along Alaska Avenue. During the walk, Duke's leash stayed taut as he veered off the sidewalk to sniff trees and fences.

One of the first questions Vowell and her husband asked after relocating from the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii was where to find the closest dog park. Duke needed space to run and time to socialize with other dogs, Vowell said. Someone told her about a dog park in Clarksville but the driving distance posed an inconvenience. Vowell said she was excited to learn about the plans for dog parks on the installation. "It's the only easy way to let your dog off the leash."

Duke and his canine kind will only have to wait a few months. Construction is slated to begin in March which could, weather permitting, put the project on track to finish by June.

Duttweiler said "a good influx of money" for construction at Fort Campbell and the completion of many of the new housing developments enabled the garrison to divert some funds for lower priority projects. "We're able to reach down and do some things," Duttweiler said.

The budget for the two parks is capped at $100,000.

Page last updated Wed January 28th, 2009 at 10:32