City moves forward with Toisnot dog park

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Toisnot Park soon will have another amenity, but this one is for four-legged Wilsonians as officials plan for an 8-acre dog park.

“A dog park has been discussed in Wilson for years and years, so we finalized that plan as part of a bigger multi-year focus on improving our parks,” said Deputy City Manager Harry Tyson.

The dog park at Toisnot was the first item Wilson City Council members tackled during a Thursday morning meeting. Tyson said part of the plan includes moving dirt from a mound at Gillette Park to build up the dog park, which is set to be built at the corner of Ward Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue where apartments flooded during Hurricane Matthew were demolished in recent years.

“We cannot eliminate the flooding of Toisnot, but we can help it,” he said. “We’ll raise this site 3 or 4 feet and hopefully mitigate some of the flooding.”

City Manager Grant Goings said once complete in the fall, the dog park will improve the look and use of Toisnot Park.

“The other benefit of that location is how it will improve the windshield view of Toisnot Park,” Goings said, referring to drivers’ view along Ward Boulevard. “It is an opportunity to provide for a good visual corridor, and once the dog park is finished, Toisnot is going to be pretty attractive from the main road.”

As part of the current budget, $150,000 was set aside for the dog park. The rendering developed with the help of Rivers & Associates in Greenville includes shade structures, picnic tables, improved park signs and dog play equipment. Officials said efforts are underway to recruit donations from the community to cover the remainder of the $212,500 price tag.

“We have a great plan and an even better location that will improve Toisnot Park on many different levels,” said David Lee, director of parks and recreation. “There is no doubt this dog park will be a big hit in our community.”

Site work is set to get underway shortly with the dog park opening scheduled for September or October.

“Two or three years ago, Parks and Recreation completed an updated master plan with more of a focus on outdoor, passive recreation with more utilization of our water resources. I think if you go by some of our parks, you’ll see we’ve made a lot of improvements,” Tyson said. “We want to link Toisnot Park with Gillette, and this dog park is part of a bigger plan to improve the quality of life for our residents.”