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A hidden Cut Bank gem is the City Bark Park. The City Bark Park is located on Nyhagen Road, not quite a mile from the Nyhagen turn-off on Central Avenue. It is located between the State of Montana maintenance office and the city’s roll-off site. If you end up at the roll-off site, you have gone too far.

The Bark Park was established back in 2015. It was created for our furry, four-legged friends, with lots of open, yet fenced space where dogs can run and play. Since its creation, not much work has been done on the park.

Enter Kim Winchell, Cut Bank resident and City Council member, who wants to breathe some new life back into the Cut Bank City Bark Park and jumpstart work and projects to keep the park a viable asset for dog owners.

“I first discovered it maybe just a year ago. I didn’t even know there was a dog park,” she confessed. “I am currently sitting on the City Council and realized I could maybe make some kind of impact in improving the park since it falls under the City’s purview.”

Kim knows that to get anything moving, she is going to need lots of help in the form of volunteers or donations and ideas. With that in mind, she has scheduled an informal meeting on Thursday, April 1 at 6 p.m. at the Cut Bank Creek Brewery located at 315 E. Railroad Street. 

“Please come and bring a friend!” Kim invited. “This will be an informal meeting to see what kind of support is out there, but we hope to have a committee put together at some point as well.”

If you want to join in the meeting from home, Kim said they are working out the details for a remote option. “Watch our Facebook page at cutbankbarkpark for details on this,” she said.

If you cannot make the meeting, but still want to find out how you can help, Kim suggested emailing her at montanamutt@yahoo.com or send a message on the Bark’s Facebook page.

What are some of the thoughts and ideas Kim has or has heard others have for the Bark Park?

“It is a blank canvas,” she said. “What I envision is exciting and attainable over time for sure. Some of the ideas were from feedback from the new Facebook page.”

Kim said a walking path around the park would be a great start with a separate fenced off area for little dogs that has its own drinking station. More benches for sitting and relaxing, a gazebo and more trees for shade and a wind break row of shrubbery. Signage around the park for rules, more dog waste stations and a better drinking station at the entrance. Improve the entrance to the park with the hopes of eliminating all the mud there. 

And the “ultimate icing? A sprinkler system so that sod can be laid down, but that is a ways off,” she admitted. 

“There is no room in the general fund for upgrades or costly maintenance projects at the park,” she shared. That means it will also take some volunteers willing to put in some time and energy at the park to get some projects done.

Kim researched a grant from the AARP Community Challenge for Livable Communities Project that would be perfect for this kind of project, if they were able to get it. But there is a short timeline to get it written and to identify what the needs are and what kind of community help is available. Thus, the reason for the community meeting to see first and foremost what the interest level is and what people are willing to do for this project. 

“Not everyone needs to be able to donate cash or labor,” she stressed. “There are so many ways to help and the first step is coming to the meeting tomorrow night. I would love to see people come to the meeting to start a conversation. There is no commitment by just being part of the dialogue. But this is the first thing we need to do.”

It is a big project, no doubt. But it all does not have to be done at once. However, with the right group of volunteers and a person interested in spearheading the project, there is hope to turn this basic, fenced in area, into a beautiful city park, one for dogs and their humans. 

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