Buddy, a five-year-old golden retriever, didn’t say much Tuesday morning at the new North Garner Dog Park on East Garner Road.
A few barks here and there, panting, nothing big. But he seemed to enjoy the new open space he and other Garner dogs can run around and play in now that the new dog park is open.
Jaclyn Sumner, Buddy’s owner and a Garner resident, said her dog isn’t much of a dog park fan so they probably won’t come often. But she likes the fact that she now has options of places to take her dog.
“It’s nice for us because we live in an apartment,” she said, so it’s nice to have an area I can take him that is fenced it. I think it’s a good place to bring your dogs and get them socialized and exposed to other dogs.”
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Many at the park on Wednesday said the nearest dog park was in Clayton.
With dogs sitting and on leashes town officials cut the ribbon to its first dog park. Among those in attendance were town manager Hardin Watkins and town council members Jackie Johns, Ken Marshburn and Mayor Ronnie Williams.
“A dog is referred to as man’s best friend,” Williams said in his opening remarks. “So it is appropriate that as we build parks for our humans, that we build a park for our best friends.”
The idea for a dog park was first proposed in 2000, said Sonya Shaw, parks, recreation and cultural resources director. A group of residents were interested in having a dog park at White Deer Park during the first phase of development. But the town later decided they wanted White Deer Park to be a nature park.
But they kept the idea.
The town approved a $35.7 million bond referendum in 2013 to revitalize the city, build recreation facilities, improve sidewalks and parks and construct new town facilities. Included in that referendum was $5.5 million for Parks and Recreation projects and they set aside $250,000 in funds to build two dog parks.
The second one, which Shaw says could be as big as two acres of land, is expected to be built next summer at Lake Benson Park, pending council approval.
“The largest department who had hands-on work in building the park was our public works department,” Shaw said. “They actually took the plans from our consultant and went to work on constructing the dog park.
“They did a phenomenal job. We’re quite pleased with the product and I think the community will be as well.”
A key card is not needed for park. The only thing the town ask is for residents to get their dogs registered to ensure that each dog playing in the park has all their vaccinations.
Registration is $10.
“This is to protect all dog owners,” Shaw said. “They are also required to have a rabies. So we’ll ask them to display those two tags when they are actually in the park, so that users will know that their pets have been properly vaccinated.”
About six dogs got the chance to run around and play in the dog park chasing tennis balls and playing fetch with their owners Tuesday. The grand opening for the park was Saturday.