Barking in the park

Dog park to open at River Street Park on Labor Day weekend

Phase One: Construction of the Brutus dog park underway to meet opening deadline of Sept. 1. Photo By: Tori Thomas | Photographer
Got a dog? Or want a dog and can’t have one at school? No worries because on Sept. 1, Big Rapids is proud to announce the opening of the Brutus Dog Park.

This park is located blocks from campus at River Side Park along the River Walk.

Mark Brejcha is the man behind the making of the dog park. Just this year the city and Friends of the Dog Park came together to accomplish a new addition to the community.

A few months ago, donations started coming in, making the mutual fund grow at a slow rate. With the slow growth, the dog park would have taken over a good year to complete.

It was a donation of $10,000 that sealed the deal to make this dream come true for Brejcha and the community. This donation gave naming rights of “Brutus” for the park. After that donation, over $20,000 came in within 30 days.

The story behind the name is in memory of Jack Batdorff’s, co-owner of the Pioneer, late Bohemian mountain dog, Brutus. Brejcha said, “This name was a no brainer: Jack’s dog and the Ferris mascot’s name.”

The park is filled with dog paraphernalia, such as two donated dog bone benches so people can take a seat as their dogs mingle. Thre will also be a culvert for dogs that will eventually have a burm so dogs can run over it.

The main entrance will feature a “Welcome to Brutus Dog Park” sign. The sidewalks are ADA accessible with a water fountain. As you approach the dog release area, welcome bricks with engravings purchased by community members will line the walkway. This all leads up to the large and small dog area entrances, creating a funnel effect.

Brejcha is juiced and excited about how far the dog park has come. The opening day is approaching and he encourages Ferris students to come.

“We want them here,” Brejcha said. “Any students missing dogs can come on down, sit on a bench and study. Adopt a dog.”

Brejcha said “I have been involved in many communities and there is no better one than here; there’s an outpouring of support. People in this community have the ability to use their gifts and talents. There is a place for you here. Ferris is our treasure along with the people.”

The key components of success are the City of Big Rapids and Friends of the Big Rapids Dog Park. The city will maintain the grounds and fence, while people from the Friends of the Big Rapids Dog Park will sign up to visit the park and keep the dog areas free of debris. Brejcha explained this is two-fold with the city and Friends of the Dog Park. He just wants students to get on board next.

On Friday, Aug. 31 from 6 p.m. until dark there will be an open house.

Saturday at 10 a.m. the ribbon cutting will take place for the grand opening of the dog park.

“We want the students to get a slice of home. There’s nothing better than the love of a dog,” Brejcha said.


The dog park is open during daylight hours. Thank you for your comment, we appreciate all feedback and interaction.

The dog park hours will be during the daylight. Thank you for commenting, we greatly appreciate feedback from our readers.

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