By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Jul 18, 2003 at 5:22 AM

"Dog parks are good for dogs for the same reason playgrounds are good for children. They need exercise and socialization to be their best," says Stacy Conroy of ROMP for Dogs, a not-for-profit group working to create off-leash dog parks in the Milwaukee area.

Although unable to disclose the name of the proposed county park, the group said they planned to sign a lease in August or September with a large county park on the northeast side and would hopefully open the 1.5-acre pooch plaza in late fall.

"Cities like Madison and Chicago have several dog parks but Milwaukee only has one (The Granville Dog Park on Hwy 45 and Good Hope Road) and it's not very accessible to the people who need it the most," says Conroy, who also owns a natural dog food company, Companion Natural Food.

Eventually, ROMP, which stands for Residents for Off-leash Milwaukee Parks, hopes to open similar parks on the South Side, East Side, West Allis and possibly Bay View.

Although the group is able to do the labor themselves, they still need roughly $15,000 for a chain-link fence to enclose the area, waste receptacles, baggies, scoopers, lighting and a contract with a company to remove the waste from the park every week. ROMP hopes to secure these funds from the community and through business donations.

Dog parks are important for tourism because visitors often seek places to run their dogs. Local canine caregivers will appreciate the exercise dog parks encourage and the chance to meet other "dog people."

"New friends and relationships are created when dogs and people gather," Conroy says. And she knows; she met her husband eight years ago while the two were walking their dogs.

For more information and to find out how you or your business can help, go to call (414) 769-8806. Spot will thank you later.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.