AVON — The Planning Commission threw a bone Wednesday to a developer seeking to bring an indoor swimming facility for dogs to Colorado Avenue.
Chicago-based Doggie Paddle Aquatic Center plans to open a 7,468-square-foot indoor swimming facility for dogs on a two-acre parcel on Colorado Avenue east of Moore Road across from Mulligan’s Pub & Grille.
According to the Lorain County auditor’s website, the land was sold by Wendy Kamm to Doggie Paddle First Property LLC for $465,000.
The indoor swimming facility won’t just be for pets to enjoy during summer’s dog days. At Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting, it was said the facility will be open year round 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will employ eight people.
The plans call for two indoor pools for the pooches. There will also be a customer lounge, therapy room, dog fountain, indoor dog play area, calm dog zone, indoor track and dog wash.
Up to three dogs can be in each pool at any given time. A total of 12 dogs will be allowed inside the facility during time slots. According to the company’s website, trained instructors provide new member dogs with swimming instruction, developing pool skills and etiquette. Dogs can play by fetching alone or during group swims. Prices for membership range from $90 to $240 a month for 30-minute swims, according to the website, depending on how many times a week dog owners plan on having their pets swim.
Some residents, and one member of the Planning Commission, questioned whether the Chicago-based company might be barking up the wrong tree in setting up shop in Avon.
Commission member James Malloy voted no on the project because he wanted to hear more from the business owner, who was not present for Wednesday’s meeting to help shepherd the plans.
Others who live in nearby homes questioned whether they will be hounded by noise from the facility or whether a small outdoor patio for dogs that had been slated for a portion of land that backs up to neighboring properties will prove to be a nuisance.
As a result of those concerns, the Planning Commission kept the business on a short leash — the plans were approved with the stipulation that the outdoor patio be moved to the front of the building along Colorado Avenue.
Although no one publicly questioned the safety of dogs that will swim at the facility, a recent Facebook post on the Doggie Paddle business page did indicate there are some risks — a dog, which was wearing a life vest, drowned March 31 at the Chicago facility.
The dog’s owner, Paula Cano, took to social media after her dog’s death and called the experience a horrific one.
A statement issued by Doggie Paddle owner Cherie Bielawski posted on the Doggie Paddle Facebook page said canine first aid and CPR aren’t required at a facility like theirs, but as a result of the death, all Doggie Paddle employees will receive such training.
“The staff and management of Doggy Paddle are deeply saddened that Diego Cano died in our facility,” the statement said. “We are still trying to come to grips with the fact that Diego lost consciousness, expelled blood, stopped breathing, defecated, and expired.”