The proposed Mason City dog park continues to be an example of the way things are supposed to work.
The City Council has $40,000 in next year’s budget to help pay for a fence around the park site on 13th Street across from the city water plant.
The $40,000 is a match, as Operations Manager Bill Stangler pointed out, because volunteers have been working feverishly for a couple of years to raise money privately.
As someone pointed out last week, when the fence goes up, they’ve essentially got their park.
The sooner-or-later park is becoming sooner as more hurdles are being cleared.
The dog park will be on land on which property was devastated by the flood of June 2008.
Here comes the part on how things are working the way they should.
On March 29, 2011, city officials sponsored a meeting in which they invited residents of flood-damaged neighborhoods to come and offer suggestions on how the neighborhoods could be fixed up.
The meeting was held in the Mason City Room of the library where many long tables were set up.
Each table was labeled a particular neighborhood such as Maryland-Oak Park, Meadowbrook, etc.
As residents arrived, they were invited to take a seat “in their neighborhood.” A city staffer or elected official was a facilitator at each table.
The idea was for the neighbors to discuss what they wanted to be done with their neighborhood.
After about a half-hour, the facilitators from each group got up and reported to the rest of the people some of the topics that came up.
Stangler was one of the facilitators. “I heard about 35 ideas on a dog park,” he said.
Dog lovers had been talking about a dog park for years. Now, it seemed possible that their dream might come true and, at the same time, something worthy could be built on the land damaged by the flood.
The citizens are doing their part. They had an idea they weren’t willing to give up on.
The city had the wisdom to ask neighbors what they wanted in their neighborhood and has, in effect, donated the land and provided some seed money.
When the park is built, it will be a tremendous amenity for people who live in Mason City.
And if people from other nearby towns come to use the park, hey, that’s another plus.
It’s the city and people in the community working together to accomplish something.
And that’s the way things are supposed to work.
Reach John Skipper at 421-0537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.