Wags and wiggles

Former Springfield city pool will change to dog daycare

Springfield’s former city pool provided countless hours of entertainment to area children, but by next year it could be a nearly five-acre playground for pets.

The pool at 715 N. Bechtle Avenue has been closed since 2006. But Springfield’s city commissioners recently voted to approve the sale of the property to Laura Fazio, who plans to use the vacant space as the new home for Wags N Wiggles, her dog daycare business.

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The business has been located in a shopping center at 1608 Upper Valley Pike for the last three years, but Fazio said the daycare has outgrown the space. Moving the business to the Bechtle Avenue site will allow her to nearly double the size of her business from 15 to 28 kennels and provide room for the dogs to run outside. It will also allow her to add a separate grooming area with two groomers.

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She said she looked at other locations, but found there were few viable options that fit the specific needs of her business.

“It’s not easy to fit this business into an existing structure,” Fazio said.

The move will also allow Fazio to roughly double the number of her employees within the next few years. She has about a dozen employees now, most of whom are part-time workers.

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The move also gets the vacant property off the city’s books and back into use, said Tom Franzen, assistant city manager and director of economic development for Springfield. In recent years, city officials had seen problems like illegal dumping and graffiti at the site. The sale price was $92,703.00, according to information from the city.

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“It’s been kind of a struggle for us,” Franzen said.

Fazio started the business after about 16 years working as a pharmaceutical representative. She took her dogs to Dayton for daycare services, and realized there wasn’t a similar option available in Springfield. Since then, she said the business has largely grown through word of mouth.

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“We have a loyal customer base and most of the dogs that come in are regulars,” Fazio said.

She also credited Springfield’s Small Business Development Center for providing business advice and financial assistance to get the business started. She said the business’ new building could be standing as early as November this year, and her goal is to open the new site early next year.

The business allows room for the dogs to spend most of the day playing so they’re more calm when their owners pick them up at the end of the day, she said. The additional space outside will provide a better atmosphere for the pets, she said.

“It’s a huge parking lot with a bunch of grass behind it which is what we needed,” Fazio said.

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