When Hannah Simons-Scalise was identified with most cancers as a younger teen, she instructed her mom, Lynn Simons, that she did not wish to have a funeral; she would moderately have her household’s cash go towards a mission that might profit her hometown of Mt. Nice.
Extra particularly, Hannah requested her dad and mom for “a spot the place canines and folks may run.”
After listening to her daughter’s needs, Simons and her husband, John Scalise, labored in tandem with the Metropolis of Mt. Nice and Union Township to start out improvement on a canine park in Hannah’s identify: Hannah’s Bark Park.
By the bark park mission, Scalise and Simons helped to ascertain the Pals of the Canine Park neighborhood group. Scalise and Simons additionally donated $10,000 to fund the park’s building. A portion of the donation got here from Hannah’s personal private financial savings.
Hannah’s love for canines and for the outside got here from her time spent as an animal shelter volunteer and member of her highschool cross nation staff. Simons says Hannah was all the time a really devoted scholar, and he or she continued her education by way of the rest of therapy.
Till the very finish of her life, Simons says that Hannah was serious about others. She was a form and vivid younger girl who had a love for her neighborhood of her.
In the present day, Hannah’s Bark Park sees dozens of holiday makers on daily basis, climate permitting. The park is open seven days per week from 8 am to 10 pm
It is positioned inside Mission Creek Park at 1458 N. Harris Road and is simply accessible with a membership key fob. All canines attending the park are required to register with the town and supply full vaccination standing.
Mt. Nice Parks and Recreation Director, Philip Biscorner, says these necessities typically make guests really feel a lot safer within the bark park by letting them know every furry customer has been screened and will not pose a well being menace. He additionally shares the park has remained a staple piece of recreation for the town.
“It is in all probability one of many few locations you’ll be able to let your canine go off leash, and that is sort of the large factor,” he says. “It is simply good to have that kind of a facility for them to go to.”
The park is break up up into two separate sides, Biscorner says – one for small canines and one for big canines. It additionally accommodates a small pavilion for much-needed shade in the summertime, and a water fountain for each canines and their homeowners.
The Pals of the Canine Park group has continued to keep up the bark park and add facilities to its panorama. Biscorner says a number of the most up-to-date Pals of the Canine Park contributions have been lighting, permitting for safer visitation after darkish.
Simons says it is a fantastic factor to see that Hannah’s legacy has continued in Mt. Nice, and that her imaginative and prescient has led to the creation of such a constructive place.
Though Simons now lives exterior the Mt. Nice space, she says she’s again to the park a number of instances to see the native canines and homeowners benefit from the house that Hannah helped gone to offer.
Hannah’s Bark Park in Mt. Nice, Michigan. Photograph Courtesy of Riley Connell.
Even on a cold October night, there have been a number of guests on the park, every bundled up in a coat, hat, and gloves, however nonetheless pleased to be there with their pets.
Pals Haley Held and Morgan Petriko have been visiting with their canines Lucy and Layla, each huskies – Max, a black husky, and Mazie, a golden retriever. The pair says they take their canines to the park till the ice and snow of winter come round.
Pet proprietor Maria Sanocki mentioned she all the time feels snug taking her canine Mowgli into the park, on account of its necessities for entry.
Retired Central Michigan College librarian David Ginsburg says his canine, Duke, is about 19 years outdated, however he nonetheless likes to run round with different native pets. Ginsburg says Duke is often known as the official sheriff of the park.
These guests are just some of many who’ve stepped foot into Hannah’s Bark Park, and so they every say it is all the time a busy location.
If Hannah may see what her park has grow to be in the present day, Simons says she has little question it will heat her coronary heart.