A large crowd gathered Friday afternoon for the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the Sara Low Memorial Dog Park. Sara, daughter of Mike and Bobbie Low, died in the 2001 terrorist attacks of the World Trade Centers. She was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11. Her sister Alyson Low spoke on behalf of the family.
“I’m so glad to be here for the dedication of the Sara Low Memorial Dog Park because this space represents joy, companionship, and love, all of which plays such an important role in quality of life for both two and four-legged critters,” Low said.
“It’s also meaningful because it’s a reminder of a bright spot in the shadows in lower Manhattan, that has given my parents and me an emotional respite after memorial ceremonies at Ground Zero. On our way back to the hotel, we’d stop by a dog park along the promenade by the Hudson River and watched dogs romp in a shallow pool, play keep-away with tennis balls, and do what dogs do best: Exist in the moment with a purity of heart. It’s always helped to lift our mood and remind us of the good things in life. And the good things in life would still be very much wanted by Sara for us all: Her family, her friends, and her hometown,” Low said.
“It’s my family’s hope that for those who happen to pass by on days when the shadows in their lives are long, the glimpse of dogs rolling in the grass and running with abandon will be a bright spot for them, as well. Again, my parents and I deeply appreciate this dog park being named for Sara. It is a fitting, dynamic, happy tribute to her and all of those who were lost on September 11 and a celebration of the pets so many of them loved and laughed at,” Low said.
Her father Mike Low addressed the crowd briefly to thank all involved.
“You’ve touch us deeply, by naming the park after Sara, it means a lot to us,” he said.
Stephannie Laslo, is a Senior Girl Scout and did much of research for the dog park as part of her Gold Projects. Gold Projects have to be something the scout is passionate about and drive lasting change in their communities.
She researched rules, signage, pavilions, and the dual water fountains in the park, which have a spigot and built in bowl for dogs to drink out of at the bottom and a fountain for humans at the top.
“Many, many hours have been put into this project by everyone and I couldn’t be more excited about it,” Laslo said.
“I drew up a plan of what I thought the dog park could be and took it to [Batesville] Mayor [Rick] Elumbaugh. He encouraged me to take this idea to the city council and as a 13-year-old girl, that was terrifying to me. But I did it. In August of 2016, and after discussion, they let us implement this project. I started working alongside Jeff Owens, Director of Bateville Parks and Recreation, and from there, after a lot of hard work from a lot of amazing people we have our beautiful dog park, which with the permission of her family, will be named the Sara Low Memorial Dog Park.,” Laslo told the large crowd, reaching down to pet her service dog, Moses.
Pharmacist Steve Bryant coordinated much of the fundraising for the park.
“I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of traveling around the state and out of state over the last several years. We’ve had dogs for years and we always take our dogs with us. We go to dog parks everywhere, we’ve seen all kinds of dogs parks, but this is really one of neatest dog parks I’ve seen anywhere I’ve been,” Bryant said.
“When you go to a dog park it gives you time to reflect, time to meet new people, time to be with our little four-legged friends, just relax and enjoy life, but also it gives you time to think about your problems and issues that you’re dealing with and solutions. Being around dogs, to me, is one of the most relaxing things there is,” Bryant said.
The dog park will be another beneficial asset in the community, along with the aquatics center, numerous parks, and the trails system.
Residents of Batesville have a new destination to play with pooches. Batesville has had a lot of significant ribbon-cuttings over the years to celebrate milestone of progress.
“This one has a special place in my heart. Because we have such a giving community. One hundred percent of the funding for the Sara Low Memorial Dog Park has been paid for by this community, the outreach has been unbelievable,” said Mayor Rick Elumbaugh.
The park will also feature memorial benches under the pavilions. One will be in honor of Susan Waits, daughter of Lydal and Shirley Waits. Susan Waits was the first recipient of the Sara Low Scholarship.