Friday, April 25, 2014

‘Bark Park’ construction delayed by theft

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 12/20/2013

Ottawa’s new dog park won’t get the ribbon cutting organizers hoped for this month, Wynndee Lee said.

Equipment and materials being used to build the dog park in the northwest corner of Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., Ottawa, were stolen over the past weekend, Lee, Ottawa’s director of planning and codes administration, told committee members of the Ottawa Bark Park via email earlier this month.

Ottawa’s new dog park won’t get the ribbon cutting organizers hoped for this month, Wynndee Lee said.

Equipment and materials being used to build the dog park in the northwest corner of Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., Ottawa, were stolen over the past weekend, Lee, Ottawa’s director of planning and codes administration, told committee members of the Ottawa Bark Park via email earlier this month.

The dog park, which is sponsored by Advantage Ford, 2320 S. Oak St., Ottawa, and also made possible by donors, has been under construction for the past month, but the recent theft caused work to come to a stand-still, Owen Brister said.

Brister, owner of Odie’s Landscaping, is the company in charge of constructing the dog park, but when Brister went to get his equipment Monday morning from Mitchell’s Construction, 415 W. Wilson St., Ottawa, he found everything was gone.

“At first I thought maybe [someone from Mitchell’s] moved the trailer,” Brister said. “But they said, ‘We thought you moved it.’”

Brister was keeping his equipment stored in a back lot of the floor covering business, which he thought was secure, he said.

“We lost a trailer, new tractor, post hole digger, rakes, hand tools,” Brister said.

A clue that could have prevented the theft was found Saturday morning, Brister said, but at the time, no one thought anything of it.

“Dean Sump owns his own semi and he parks down [at Mitchell’s] over the weekend,” Brister said. “[Sump] pulled in Saturday morning to park his semi and noticed the lock had been cut on the gate. [Rob Mitchell and Sump] looked around and didn’t see anything gone and didn’t think anything of it. So we’re assuming they must’ve gone in there Friday night.”

A report was filed first thing Monday morning with the Franklin County Sheriff’s department, he said, but he hasn’t heard anything since.

“I don’t know if [the sheriff’s office] is working on it or not,” Brister said. “We can’t do nothing — We can’t work. I’m like ‘Gosh dang!’ The sooner, the better.”

The sheriff’s office handed the report over to its detectives, who are working on the case, Lt. Curtis Hall, with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday.

“I drove the whole countryside looking,” Brister said. “We had everything on the trailer loose, so we drove through the countryside thinking a shovel fell off or something and never found anything. It seems like there was no sense of urgency [from the sheriff’s office].”

In the letter to the Bark Park committee, Lee told members of the committee Brister had the whole month of January off to work on the park and is hoping construction will be resumed as soon as possible.

Without Brister’s equipment, no more renovations can be done, he said, but the insurance company is willing to work with him to get things moving a little faster.

“The insurance man said ‘If you could get me a letter from the city saying you’re working on the project under a certain timeline, maybe we can expedite on our part instead of taking the whole 60 to 90 days,’” he said. “But we can’t do a thing without our equipment. We’re dead in the water.”

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