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Texarkana Dog Park Funding Issue Resolved

Last year, the city won a $100,000 grant through PetSafe, but a misunderstanding created some confusion on funding for a structure in the entry way.
TEXARKANA, AR -- The City of Texarkana is ready to move forward with plans for a dog park.

Last year, the city won a $100,000 grant through PetSafe, but a misunderstanding created some confusion on funding for JefFURson Dog Park's entry way.

When the City heard about plans for the structure, they thought it'd be donated, but that apparently was never the case.

Chrystal Sloan was one of the driving forces that helped the city win its dog park.

"Everybody agrees that they want something for animals to enjoy the quality of life," said Sloan. "You don't mess with dog park people."

Since then, Sloan has met with the city multiple times to help.

Her main priority, the entry way.

"There's a mason who called me and told me that he would like to help," said Sloan. "In February I started sending emails to the city talking about an ironworker. I told them he did great work."

The emails describe the project's details, including what the structure would look like and that it'd be under budget.

Not once do any of them state the end result would be donated.

"I brought it up at a meeting, it got OK'd, and I went to the head of the project and told him, 'We're ready,'" said Sloan.

So when an invoice was given for almost $4,000, city officials were confused.

"They thought those items were being donated, a presumption, an incorrect presumption," said Mayor Wayne Smith.

Smith says it was a misunderstanding, and that the city was at fault.

"Lack of communication on our part," said Smith. "She didn't do anything intentional, she was doing what she thought was the best thing."

Monday night, board members voted unanimously to use the grant money to pay the fee.

The situation is resolved, but the dog park has new meaning for Sloan.

"I see this as a symbol on trying to move up and progress and it takes a lot of work to do it, a lot of fights," said Sloan.

The city has 30 days to pay it.

When the board got the $100,000 grant, they set aside just over $5,000 in a contingency fund, basically money used in an unexpected situation.

Sloan also has concerns about funding for other projects like trash cans, signs and benches.

The mayor assures the dog park will stay under budget.
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