People and their pets began gathering in the dog park prior to the opening ceremony. Photo by Mike Diegel.
Takoma Park’s first official dog park opened to a throng of people and their pets in a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Sunday afternoon.
Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart began her remarks by saying, “As I look out over this dog park, I see more than a dog park. What I see is partnerships, building community and hard work.”
The park is located at the end of Darwin Avenue adjacent to the Takoma-Piney Local Park and next to land owned by Montgomery County Public Schools.
Parker pointed out the need for the community lobbying for a dog park to work with the city, which it turn had to coordinate with MCPS and the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission.
“This is really a community dog park,” Stewart continued, “because we were able to, as a community, come together and clear out this space and make it ready.”
The new park has a flat, packed gravel surface and a large slope covered in artificial turf. The construction included creation of a storm water management system as well.
Alluding to the number of unofficial dog parks around the city (“we all know where they are”), Stewart said the new park was about building community because it will draw people out of their own neighborhoods.
“This dog park will enable people all over our city to come together, let their dogs play together, enjoy the outside and get to know each other from a across the city,” Stewart said.
Among the dozen or so people Stewart thanked for their work on the $200,000 project was Joe Edgell, who founded Takoma Dogs about five years ago. The community group became a driving force in the push for a city dog park.
“It’s fantastic,” said Edgell when asked his reaction to the opening. “It’s an amenity that a lot of cities this size have, and we didn’t.
“Based on the data we found,” he continued, “there’s probably about 5,200 dogs in Takoma Park and their humans, and they can’t take their pets any place. Now they can.”
Currently, there is no shelter or shade (at least, until the surrounding trees leaf out), nor is there a source for water, but both Stewart and Edgell said that would change.
“We’re still going to build some shade and there will be water eventually to the dog park as well,” Edgell said.
“There was a desire to get it opened, since it had been delayed and delayed and delayed and delayed some more,” he said, explaining why those amenities will be added later.
In the meantime, the dogs don’t seem to mind.
Here are a few more photos from Sunday’s opening. All photos by Mike Diegel.