By Shereen Siewert

After years of planning, Wausau’s dog park is finally a reality with a grand opening celebration set for Saturday morning.

Wausau’s new dog park is named after a woman who died of brain cancer and was known for her love of animals. “2 Hearts Dog Park” has been named for Deb Stolzman in exchange for a donation of $17,500. Stolzman, who spent years working in media and real estate in the Wausau area, was the first President of New Life Adoption Center in Marathon.

Stolzman was featured in a 2019 Wausau Pilot and Review story in advance of a benefit that helped pay for a revolutionary treatment that family members hoped would prolong her life. She died on July 22, 2019, roughly 14 months after being diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord.

In his discussions with city officials Stolzman’s husband, Brian, explained that the “two hearts” name came from a drawing his wife made while undergoing treatment.

Friends and family members held events to raise the funds necessary to name the park in Stolzman’s honor. Money was steadily pouring in – until COVID-19 shuttered businesses and kept people at home. But the effort continued, with Stolzman’s husband pledging to pay the full amount out of his own pocket if necessary.

Finally, an event held last month at Bunkers pushed the fundraising effort over the threshold, securing the naming rights for the park. The sign, designed by Graphic House, was erected in May. The park has agility equipment and other amenities, and is already open to the public.

The Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department will host the official Grand Opening of the new park from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 4 with a ribbon cutting ceremony at a.m. There will be a raffle drawing and treats for the pups.

2 Hearts is Wausau’s first dedicated dog park. Weston’s dog park opened more than a decade ago, and a dog park in Rib Mountain opened in 2018. The 2-acre parcel, located at 224 S. Fourth Street, was selected over three alternate sites. The city purchased the property in 2007 for just under $19,000.