Richardson Sowerby Park

Town goes to the hounds this Saturday

October 27, 2011 // 0 Comments

Contests, costumes, food, free stuff at dog walk by BETH ALTENA “It’s already a success. I just hope the dogs show up,” said organizer Tom VanderSloot, who is hoping for a big bow wow turnout this Saturday, Oct. 29 to the first Happy Hounds Dog Walk at the Rockford Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe Street in downtown Rockford. The event will take place starting at 9 a.m. for on-site registration, the dog walk starts at 10 a.m., and booths and demonstrations will take place until 1 p.m. Given the day, dogs and owners are welcome to dress up and perhaps be chosen as winners in a costume contest. Proceeds of the walk are going to a proposed dog park planned across the Rogue River from Richardson-Sowerby Park south of Ten Mile Road. Visitors don’t even have to have a dog to participate, eat and be entertained and educated. In addition to a Happy Hounds stroll through downtown Rockford, the dog festival will include pet-related vendors with information, demonstrations, giveaways and contests. Florentine Pizzeria Ristorante will offer pasta and breadsticks and is donating proceeds to the Happy Hounds nonprofit group. There will be refreshments for a nominal fee, but the stars of the day will be the dogs. West Michigan Therapy Dogs will have a tent and some lovely therapy dogs as they raise awareness to the good work they do with those who need a boost from a furry friend. Right next to them will be Paws With a Cause demonstrating what service dogs do to help those with physical challenges. The Humane Society opted out of bringing real dogs up for adoption to the event, but will have photos and video of animals waiting for a home. An organization called Fur to Feathers will have on-site canines that need a human to adopt them. The National Animal Assist Crisis Response will explain the program it offers, training therapy dogs and their owners to respond to devastating disasters—9/11, the hurricane Katrina, and other catastrophes—with assistance at the sites of disasters. Pawsitive Impact for Pets is a local nonprofit with the task of helping pet owners keep their pets when they are struggling with financial challenges, either through losing a job or some other circumstance. “We have all […]

Council dedicates property for dog park

June 23, 2011 // 0 Comments

Organizers have one year to come up with funding by BETH ALTENA After passing last month on contributing city funds to development and maintenance of a public dog park on a former ball field at Richardson-Sowerby Park, Rockford City Council voted this month to dedicate the land for that use for one year. Organizers are confident they can raise the money needed to develop the 180-by-160-foot property into a dog park. In their May 9 meeting, City Council had considered helping to fund the park’s estimated $20,000 cost, perhaps splitting the difference with volunteers who have been hoping to forward the project. Bringing water to the property was $5,000 of the estimate, with the remaining $15,000 representing the cost of purchasing and installing fencing. City Manager Michael Young said it was possible to use Rockford Department of Public Services staff to do the work, which might have lowered the expense to $12,000. According to Young, volunteers had a commitment from Rockford Ambulance to raise $3,000 toward the project, and they had been working with pet supply companies in hopes of receiving more funds. Councilman Brien Dews last month questioned the speed at which the project seemed to be moving forward, considering other proposals, such as a skate park, were making no progress. Members of the audience also commented—one asking if the City couldn’t locate a dog or skate park on the property where Burch Body Works had been located. Another asked about liability and safety issues of a dog park. Young pointed out that the City does not own the Burch Body Works property and is not likely to budget the hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be required to purchase that land. “The idea before you is: Do you want to pledge money for development of a dog park,” Young reminded council. “There isn’t a skate park group asking for money.” Councilwoman Mary Eadie said she was firmly against seeing a dollar of tax money going to a dog park and that she would vote against any City money going to the project. Dews also pointed out that City staff had been asked this year to freeze wages, including negotiated raises, and they had made that sacrifice. “I think maybe in these economic […]

Rockford youths arrested in drug sting

December 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Police Department arrested 15 local teenagers today completing a four month investigation into drug use and vandalism in local parks. Chief Dave Jones reported that an undercover officer has been working in the area parks, particularly the areas surrounding Richardson Sowerby Park, located beneath the 10 Mile bridge. The undercover officer was able to buy marijuana from three of the youths Jones said. Others were charged with Use of Marijuana, and Destruction of Property. The investigation was in response to several complaints received from park users about the unruly behavior of the teenagers this summer, Jones said. All of the offenders have been prohibited from using any city park for at least one year, using a newly enacted local ordinance allowing for expulsion from the parks if parks rules are broken. “It is our responsibility to create a safe and user friendly environment for park users in the City,” said Jones. “These young people were using our parks as their personal playground for illegal activity. Our hope is that the arrests are a learning experience for those involved and they find better things to do in their spare time.”