Waterloo Park District Board member Shelby Mathes thought for years that Waterloo needed a dog park, and last year he began work in earnest to try to make it happen.
“I finally got consent from the park board to look into it. I held a (public) meeting at City Hall and about 15 people came,” Mathes said.
The response was favorable, but the project didn’t gain much traction as Mathes and the park district looked for funding.
“The project was on the verge of stalling,” Mathes said.
But thanks to a large donation made in memory of a loved and missed former Waterloo merchant, that park will become a reality this Saturday when a ribbon-cutting will officially open it to the community.
Joe Brombolich, husband of the late Pamela “Vickie” Brombolich, had been thinking for some time about the perfect way to honor his wife, who died last June.
“I didn’t just want to do something that six months from now would be forgotten,” Brombolich said.
That’s when he read a story in the Republic-Times about a proposed dog park and contacted Mathes immediately.
“Joe called and said his wife was the (former) owner of Vickie’s Hallmark and asked me if I’d come over and talk to him,” Mathes said.
Brombolich recalls the minute he decided on the perfect way to honor his late wife.
“When I read about the dog park in the (Republic-Times) last fall, I said ‘This is it. This is what I was looking for.’ I talked to Shelby and in about 15 minutes we had a dog park,” Brombolich said.
Initially, Brombolich wanted his $45,000 donation to be anonymous. But as the grand opening approaches, he decided to share the story of his wife and her love of their dogs — toy poodles Frosty, Peaches and Libby.
“My wife loved her dogs. The community was good to her for the 18 years she was in business. I want to do something in remembrance of her,” Brombolich said.
Just as important to Brombolich is giving something to the community that supported Vickie’s Hallmark for nearly 20 years with a gift that will be around for years to come.
“Hopefully this (dog park) will last a long time after I’m gone,” he said.
The dedication ceremony is this Saturday at 10 a.m., at 1505 Korte Lake Drive in Lakeview Park. There will be a ribbon-cutting, remarks by Brombolich and attendance prizes donated by Purina.
The public is encouraged to attend.