The City of Gautier, and its dogs, has a group of children to thank. It's not every day that the entire city comes out for the opening of a dog park. It's even less common when elementary school children sell lemonade to help make it happen. That's exactly what led up to a day of canine fun in Gautier. The ‘Bark Park' at Gautier's Shepard Park is officially open for paws and playtime after third graders from Martin Bluff Elementary approached Mayor Gollott. Gollott says, "I think it is absolutely wonderful what is happening here and it's all because of the kids you hear behind us." Irwin Edenzon, the President of Ingalls Shipbuilding, says, "I think it’s great that these kids took this on, came up with a way to raise the funds, took on the local government!" The doggie playground became a reality after students participated in Ingalls’ ‘Day of Caring’. The students sacrificed their recess time to write letters and create pictures explaining their animal-friendly request. The students fetched $65 through a lemonade stand which they then presented to the City Council.
Jennifer Schuster with Martin Bluff Elementary says, "These children are amazing! They're your future, so beware!” Dogs will be regulars at the dog park that Ingalls shipbuilders built on their own time. Edenzon also says, "I'm also proud of my shipbuilders and what they do for the community. We can build anything, and this is an example of that." After the ribbon was cut, the children enjoyed the park they worked for with their four legged friends. Samantha Montiel, 8, a student at Martin Bluff Elementary, says, "It’s fun with all the dogs. You get to play. It's just fun!" Kennedy Harris, 8, another student, says, "I like the dog park because the dogs have an opportunity to get to know other dogs." The students worked hard, the city granted their wish, and now, dogs have a new place to play in Gautier. The Mayor and city officials invite the kids to come back to the park anytime. Parents: don't fret. You're invited too. No bones about it!