Salem residents and their canine companions can now enjoy their very own local dog park, thanks to Piranha Aquatics member Collin Zimmerman. Zimmerman, 18, led the effort as his Eagle Scout project for St. Paul Church Boy Scout Troop 6.
Located in Waterworth Memorial Park, the dog park is across the parking lot from the band shell, off of Sunset Boulevard between Lions baseball field and the nature trail. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Saturday, June 25.
“I picked a dog park because I wanted a challenging project, I wanted a big project that brought value to the community,” said Zimmerman. “Whenever I brought it up to the parks board, they were really excited about it and said it was something they had thought about, and they just never had gotten the funds or the time to do it.”
Donations from approximately 40 area businesses, families, and individuals covered the project’s cost, $9,500. Piranha Aquatics was one of the donors to the project.
Zimmerman said the idea for the project came from his own dogs, Holly and Ivy, and seeing the need for a place for Salem residents to walk their dogs.
“I have two beagles and Salem doesn’t really have a dog park anywhere near it besides Boardman,” said Zimmerman. “So many people have mentioned it would be cool if we had a dog park.”
The Salem High School senior has been swimming with Coach Caroline McDermott and Piranhas Aquatics since junior high school.
“I do the swim meets mainly, and I swim during winter,” said Zimmerman. In addition to swimming, he participates in track, cross country, and snowboarding. He is also a member of Key Club, student council, and National Honor Society.
Zimmerman says that being an athlete has helped motivate him in a way that he was able to apply to the dog park project. Of the life lessons he has acquired, he says he has learned “How to push yourself to get what you want, and how to drive yourself forward.”
He has also learned lessons from the dog park project that will help him reach his future goals.
“I think one of the main things I learned is how to keep a schedule, how to push people along, leadership, and how to talk to people.”
Zimmerman hopes to attend medical school after graduating from Salem. He is considering studying pre-med at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, or possibly Ohio State University. He plans to keep pushing himself hard to achieve future goals.
“I plan to just keep driving and pushing myself towards what I want to do,” said Zimmerman.
For now, Zimmerman can take pride in the fact that he has done something to improve his community.
“I’d have to say just seeing it complete, seeing everyone use it, was probably one of my favorite things,” said Zimmerman. “Seeing it become accomplished, and being able to say that I’ve done that, being able to say that I completed whatever I told people I’m going to complete.”
When asked if he had any words of advice for someone a few years younger than him, Zimmerman paused a moment, and then answered thoughtfully, “You can do anything you want to do. It’s not going to be easy but it’s going to be possible if you want to do it.”