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Hillsboro teen fetches approval for dog park

HILLSBORO, N.D. — Work is moving forward with a plan to convert the city's longtime deer enclosure to an off-the-leash dog park.

Hillsboro Park Board President Cody Harstad said grass could be planted as soon as this weekend, and he hoped the new park within Woodland Park would be open for barking business before winter.

High school senior Levi Mattson, 17, had proposed the conversion to the Park Board as his Eagle Scout project in May. He gained full approval from both the Park Board and the Boy Scouts of America by August. And since that time, he's been hard at work cleaning out the area, clearing an old shelter and leveling a large mound inside the enclosure.

"It's nice to see kids involved in Boy Scouts and take on more of a leadership role in bettering their community at such a young age," Harstad said. "He needed to come up with a project in the community he could complete. I think this speaks highly of Levi."

The idea had come up in the past, but Harstad said it was Mattson who really got the project moving. The area will have a double-gated entrance with separate areas for large dogs and smaller dogs to play.

The cost of the $1,752 project covered materials for some fencing, water stations, signs, benches and dog cleanup stations.

"It's nice to see that area being repurposed for something that was in line with what it originally was meant to be," Harstad said.

The deer enclosure originated years ago with some abandoned fawns, but Harstad said current state and federal regulations made it cost-prohibitive for the city to revise the area as either a specialty farm or petting zoo.