Finally, dogs frolicking
Bob Gulliver and buddy Belle are having a great time at Quinn’s Junction on a recent day, playing around like 8-year-olds and 9-year-olds do.
They scamper around without fearing running in front of a car, and they are competing for the tennis ball they are using as a plaything.
Bob Gulliver and Belle are two of the dogs whose owners brought them to Park City’s new dog park just after it opened, a canine gathering spot that supporters have tried to have built in Park City for years.
Bob Gulliver, a 9-year-old Australian shepherd, and 8-year-old border collie Belle have the park to themselves, but City Hall officials and people who lobbied for the park’s construction expect the crowds will become larger quickly.
Jean Glaser, who owns the two dogs and lives in Highland Estates, says she expects to bring her pets to the park two or three times each week. She is surprised it took City Hall until now to open a dog park, saying the number people in Park City who are dog owners warrants one.
"Most people up here have dogs, but there’s really no place to do anything," she says.
The dog park sits just off the entry road to the Quinn’s Junction recreation complex, covering 1.6 acres just south of the softball fields. It is fenced. Part of the park is level ground. City Hall spent about $26,000 to build the park’s fence and install a drinking fountain, featuring spigots for people and dogs. Officials expect the drinking fountain will be operating as early as the weekend.
Glaser says the park is a good size for the dogs, but she would have liked the designers to have put in an area that is shaded.
Dog owners had lobbied City Hall for several years to build a park, but the efforts had been futile until the recent opening. Officials searched for a site and picked the Quinn’s Junction location after exhausting other locations, including one on the edge of Park Meadows that encountered resistance from people who lived nearby.
Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council are scheduled to participate in a grand opening of the park at 5 p.m. on Oct. 2.
Liza Simpson, a dog-owning Park City Councilor, had been to the park three times by midweek, praising its size, the way it is designed and the sunshine it receives. Simpson says she would eventually like part of the park to be kept natural, like it is now, and part of it to be covered with wood chips or another sort of covering.
Her two dogs, Pembroke Welsh corgis, bolted into the park when they arrived, quickly getting themselves dirty.
"They immediately went straight into the mud . . . My dogs like mud. They went straight into the puddle," Simpson says.
A group of supporters has formed, and the members will assist City Hall as later decisions are made about the dog park.
The park opens during a year of heightened tension about leash laws, with a third dog recently being sprayed with pepper spray in Park City. In each of the encounters, the dog was off a leash.
Prior to the dog park opening, there was not a public place inside the city limits where a dog could be off a leash. Some dog owners, though, congregated with their pets off leashes in places like the field outside the Park City Library and Education Center.
Glaser, who was accompanied by her husband, Craig Payne, at the dog park, says it is unlikely Park City dog owners will strictly follow the leash laws with the park opened. She expects people will continue to gather with their pets at places like the field outside the library.
"I don’t think it will stop them from going to those places, but it’s another option," she says.
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