Springtime will mean a waggier time of frolicking in the park for all of man’s best friends in Miami Township. Opening on a portion of land in the Miami Meadows Park, a new “Bark Park” will give dogs a chance to run and play without the fetters of a leash.
“This is part of a bigger park, we didn’t just build a ‘bark park,’” said Miami Township Administrator David Duckworth. “It’s located in Miami Meadows Park. It is located at the end of the main drive into the park.”
The new facility will be located on a few acres of unused land and will feature fenced areas for dogs to run. Dogs will still be welcome in other areas of the park, or in other township parks, but must be kept on leashes while outside of the fenced area. The decision to build the facility came after years of requests by dog owners in the township.
“We don’t have any prohibition against people walking their dogs,” said Duckworth. “Over the past five to seven years, we’ve had numerous people call. I’ve probably fielded over 100 calls wanting to know if we were going to do something for dogs, specifically a dog park. We had about three acres of surplus land at Miami Meadows that we had no plans for, and it happens to be suited perfectly for a fenced-in dog park.”
"There are two fenced-in areas," said Duckworth. "There is one large area for dogs that play well with other dogs. Then, there is a smaller areas for dogs, like my dog, that doesn't play well with other dogs. You'll have two areas for dogs to run around in. There is a water fountain there for the dogs and shade and benches for the dog owners. It's a pretty standard dog park. You just let your dog run free."
Final construction work is being completed and a list of rules is being ironed out by the township for the new facility. The township is expected to ask that dog owners using the facility make sure their pets have all of the recommended vaccinations.
"We'll open sometime in late spring," said Duckworth. "We're shooting for a grand opening sometime in mid to late April. Right now we are working on finalizing the rules. We're working on identifying some citizen volunteers to police the area to make sure that people follow the rules. Will we require that dog owners prove that their dogs have had their shots? Absolutely not. We assume that dog owners are responsible and their dogs have up-to-date shots. We're still in the stage of writing out all of the logistics. We have a leash law for pets in other parts of the park."