Dog park debut: tails are wagging
Park City officials on Saturday expect to open a long-desired dog park, giving pet owners the first public place inside the city limits where they can let their dogs romp off a leash.
The City Hall staffer overseeing the construction said the crews building the Quinn’s Junction park planned to complete the fence at the park on Saturday morning. Matt Twombly, who plans parks for City Hall, said he expected the park would open in the afternoon on Saturday.
Its opening will end what was a frustrating process for both City Hall and dog owners, with ideas for other sites closer to Park City neighborhoods rejected by people who live close by.
The dog park is situated on 1.6 acres just south of the softball fields at the Quinn’s Junction recreation complex. It is on the right side of the road as someone is driving toward the complex on the entry road off S.R. 248.
The park’s opening had depended on roadwork for a hospital under construction at Quinn’s Junction, with City Hall being forced to wait until the fall to install the fence for the dog park. Officials had hoped to open the park earlier.
Twombly said the park is designed to accommodate about 30 dogs at a time, and there are 30 parking spots that the dog park shares with trails and the softball complex. It cost about $21,000 to build the fence. The city plans to spend another $5,000 to put in a drinking fountain, and a sprinkler-line extension to the site will cost a few hundred dollars more, he said.
The entire park will be open to dogs of any size. The officials had considered segregating different areas of the park depending on the size of the dogs, but they abandoned that sort of configuration. Twombly said if there are problems between dogs of different sizes, the park could be partitioned between small dogs and large dogs.
City Hall has installed trash cans, and dog owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
The dog park debuts after a tense summer in which a man twice sprayed loose dogs in Park City with pepper spray. The man has said the dogs had approached too close to him, prompting the pepper sprayings. Many Parkites were outraged. The man won scattered support as well.
Leash laws have long been controversial in Park City, with critics saying the police and Animal Control officers rarely enforce the laws even though loose dogs are common in Park City.
The laws require dogs in public areas to be on leashes. Loose dogs, both with owners and without their masters, are regularly seen in Park City neighborhoods, with the trend being especially prevalent in Old Town. The field outside the Park City Library and Education Center is a popular place for people to let their dogs off leash. A group of loose dogs and their owners gather there some afternoons. Some were there on Thursday.
Park City officials more than a year ago had compiled a list of 11 possible locations for a dog park, and the discussions predated that list. In 2007, City Hall considered building a dog park in a field at the base of PC Hill, on the edge of Park Meadows. People who live in the neighborhood were dismayed with the idea, saying the park would be too noisy, among other complaints.
The Quinn’s Junction location was later selected, with the supporters at City Hall trumpeting it as not being close to neighbors and on the trail system so people can easily walk their dogs there.
Rich Wyman, a member of a citizens group supporting the dog park, predicts the park will be popular. He said he envisions improvements to the park later, with Wyman talking about planting trees and installing an obstacle course.
Wyman, however, does not expect there to be drop in the number of people with their dogs off leash in Park City. He said Old Town dog owners might continue to gather in the field outside the library and at City Park.
A grand opening of the dog park is tentatively scheduled Oct. 2.
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