There are many reasons for this need, but first and foremost it is a good thing for the dogs in our community. Dog owners know that pets are a part of the family, and they need a place to run and play in Ringgold. Having a healthy social life and exercise is the most effective way of having a happy dog that is well adjusted. We have many responsible dog owners who take their dogs for walks and ensure they get exercise, but in order to get quality interaction with other dogs, we have to leave our community. There may be no cheaper cost to benefit ratio for our community than a dog park. We actually already have a park area that is ready to go with no building of fences necessary.
Behind our Ringgold pool, we have a ball field that is perfectly set up to accommodate a dog park. The fence is up, and there is an unleashing double fence already in place in the form of bullpens. The re-purposing of these ball fields would be a wonderful addition to our community that so many families would enjoy.
We would have a great deal of interest and traffic brought to our downtown area if we could bring this change about. Not only citizens within the city, but also visitors from surrounding communities would come in and utilize our park. That is good for our local businesses in the downtown area and our community’s tax base.
Some on the council have expressed nostalgia for the ball park use of our recreation fields, but there has been almost no baseball on the one remaining ball field since I’ve been on the council (4 years). I share in that nostalgia as I used to play on those fields as a kid. It has just been so many years since the fields have been used for any kind of baseball/softball. My cross country kids run through the nature trail daily, and I regularly go there with my daughters. I can’t remember the last time I saw it being used for baseball. With newer ball fields at Seabolt, Jack Mattox, and surrounding schools (Ringgold Middle is adding one soon), we don’t have as big of a need for ball fields. Aggressive marketing may not even keep that lone ball field busy. One field certainly can’t accommodate tournaments. Soccer currently uses it for their younger age groups, but with an anticipated expansion for their fields in our recreation master plan, they will not be affected by this change.
Help is needed in making this change happen. If you are a dog owner in the city, or you are just interested in our city moving forward in a positive direction, please contact your council members. I put it on the agenda for our August 24th meeting, but could not garner enough votes to make it happen. Without the voice of people in the community, this may not get done.