GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Some third graders in Gautier decided their city needed a dog park. So they took on the project themselves: Drawing up plans, raising funds and lobbying the city council.
And their hard work paid off.
The city hosted a dedication ceremony Friday morning for the new "Bark Park."
"And I tell you, I'm real excited about this," said Mayor Gordon Gollott, "This is a great thing."
Martin Bluff Elementary students came up with the idea for the dog park.
"The teacher asked them, what would be the most favorite thing they would like to see in the City of Gautier?" said the mayor, who hosted the brief dedication ceremony.
From that classroom discussion last fall, the "Bark Park" was born. And it was tough to tell who was more excited, the canines at the dedication or the third grade entrepreneurs.
"It gives an opportunity for the dogs to run around and not be cooped up inside of their homes," explained one young boy, when asked about why a dog park was a good thing.
"I think it's awesome. I think it's very good," added his classmate.
"It's very great and awesome. Because it's good being here with the dogs, just playing with them and having fun," said another youngsters, who enjoyed running with the happy dogs inside the fenced facility.
Ingalls employees donated the labor to help make the Bark Park a reality. The shipyard president praised the kids for their drive and determination.
"They took on the accountability and responsibility for doing something for the community. And at a third grade level, they're working well ahead of their grade," said Irwin Edenzon.
Their teacher is also impressed.
"I'm very proud of them. They did an awesome job. And they should be proud of themselves," said a smiling Jennifer Shuster.
The variety of dogs at the dedication certainly seemed impressed with the project; including the mayor's four legged friend.
"I have a seven-year-old black lab, Callie. She's out there in the thing with them right now. And she enjoys kids and she enjoys the public. So, I brought her along with me," he said.
Shepard State Park in Gautier was taken over by the city just over a year ago. Mayor Gollott says the dog park is the latest improvement that will help attract more visitors to the site.