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First city-backed dog park opens this week

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A looooong time coming, and then delayed some more, Baltimore’s first city-funded dog park will open this weekend — and there’s even more good dog news on the horizon after that.

The Locust Point Dog Park ‘s grand opening is scheduled this weekend in conjunction with Locust Point’s Star Spangled Festival, which runs from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday. Mayor Sheila Dixon is expected to attend — primarily to show off the new dog park.

DSC05429The fenced in dog park includes a big hill topped with fake turf, trees (though dogs will only be able to look at them longingly — they’re protected by fences) and even a water feature: A sunken trough, fed by a water spout (in the foreground of the photo above) runs the width of the park.

The most dramatic feature though will be a giant dead tree, shaved of its bark and set atop large rocks, stump and all. It was being hoisted into place earlier this week.

The effort to start a dog park within Latrobe Park was started by a citizens’ group, then taken over by the city last year, which funded the park, but won’t be responsible for its upkeep. That duty will fall to the citizens’ dog park committee. 

The opening means dogs will have two fenced-in places to legally run unleashed in Baltimore. Canton Dog Park, with a large dog and small dog area, was built by a citizens’ group. The Locust Point Dog Park isn’t divided into large and small dog areas.

DSC05423Here’s the rest of the good news: Soon, up to four city parks will have designated off leash areas.

The city council gave the Department of Recreation and Parks the authority to create the off-leash areas earlier this summer — just after lowering the off-leash fine to $200, down from a $1,000 fine the council says it inadvertently passed into law.

Sources tell ohmidog! that the off-leash hours are being considered for Riverside, Wyman Park (and a separate area at Wyman Park Dell), Herring Run Park and Patterson Park. There would be morning and evening hours, possibly as expansive as from 5 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.

The exact hours and boundaries for the off-leash areas haven’t yet been determined at all the parks. A group of Riverside Park area pet owners met with city Recreation and Parks Department officials Monday night, and parks officials are meeting with Patterson Park residents Oct. 1 to discuss off-leash hours

A fenced-in dog park, long sought by dog owners in that area, is still a possibility at Patterson Park. The city will consider plans for both options. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the Wolfe Street Academy School on Wolfe Street in Upper Fells Point.

Use of the off-leash areas, and of Locust Point Dog Park, will probably carry a fee. In addition to the basic city dog license,  a special fenced run/off-leash tag will be likely be required to use both the off leash areas and the dog park. Those will eventually become available  — through BARCS — at an expected cost of $20 a year ($10 for seniors). Forms to get the basic dog license will be available at the park on opening day

When the changes go into effect — this year if the city moves swiftly, maybe next year if it moves at its usual pace –  expect some increased enforcement of the leash law in those areas, and during those hours, that aren’t leash free.

All in all, though, it looks like — thanks to the hard work of many humans — brighter days are ahead for Baltimore’s dogs.

Comments

Comment from JanineKnows
Time September 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Way to go! Now there will be somewhere fun for them to go run and play! Thanks you for giving the dogs of Baltimore a great place to go and be dogs! I wish more places would do this. There are many dogs that live in apartments and need a place to get out and run! :) Congrads!!!

Janine
VETDEX.com

Comment from Kate
Time September 24, 2009 at 7:48 am

This is great news!! I can’t wait to see the Locust Point Dog Park and I am anxiously awaiting off-leash hours in our other wonderful city parks. This will truly improve the quality of not only our dogs’ lives, but also our own!! Thank you for keeping these issues in the spotlight!!

Comment from jason knapp
Time September 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Saw your youtube video in trying to see if there was any TV coverage…great shots of Murphy (the Golden playing in water stream feature on the video

Comment from Mike
Time September 29, 2009 at 12:18 pm

If the Locust Point Dog Park is to be the example for the rest of the city, I wish they would have not only made it bigger but had seperate areas for both large and small dogs.

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