By: Mike DeWitt
As the sun breaks through the clouds and warms the ground beneath, spring is ushered in and invites everyone to get outside. Winter has finally put itself in the rearview mirror and Wyoming residents can now take the opportunity to bring their loved ones outside on the new equipment at Marquette Park.
As the adults look on, the playful noises coming from the new equipment isn’t the laughter of kids, but rather the happy barks and tail wagging of Wyoming’s four-legged friends at the Wyoming Dog Park.
This spring, the Wyoming Parks and Recreation Department installed a large “canine castle” and a smaller “top dog bridge” to the city’s dog park. Both play structures were made from low-maintenance durable recycled plastic and will continue to recycle joy for canine visitors for years to come.
The dog park opened in 2009 and was founded by a citizen group with a vision for a dedicated pet area in the city. The group petitioned the Wyoming Parks and Recreation Commission for a space and an enclosed 2.2-acre park was created just north of Kimble Field in Wyoming’s Marquette Park. The enclosed area features areas for all dogs, both large and small.
“The dog park creates a community,” said Valarie Mester, the recreation programmer at Wyoming Parks and Recreation. “It’s a social event for people, as well as their dogs, and the dog park members become very close. It also brings people, even non-residents, to the north side of town.”
The dog park currently has 179 active members for 2016. That number is expected to reach over 300 by the end of the summer as new members sign up and old membership are renewed.
In total, the new equipment cost $5,178 and the dogs really enjoy going underneath the pieces for the shade it provides. In fact, the castle is designed for the dogs to go underneath it. Funding for the project came from the Wyoming Parks and Recreation millage as well as through the annual Wyoming Dog Park membership fees.
“The Wyoming Dog Park is the result of a successful collaboration between the Citizens for Dog Park Committee and the City of Wyoming Parks and Recreation Department,” said Rebecca Rynbrandt, the city’s director of community services. “We are excited to incorporate this new equipment to the park, which will enhance the experience for our canine members.”
The Wyoming Dog Park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The park is controlled by a key fob access requiring a membership for entry into the dog park. The membership process is to ensure all pets are vaccinated and licensed to create a safe environment for everyone.
“Our key fob entry system is an advantage to our park and makes us unique,” said Mester. “The extra security and safety measures are very helpful. They make sure everyone stays healthy, and the members of the dog park really appreciate that feature.”
An annual membership costs $12 for a Wyoming resident and $24 for a non-resident. Memberships can be purchased at the Parks and Recreation office at 1155 28th St. SW. Proof of required medical records and a current dog license are necessary for membership.
For further information regarding the dog park, or any of Wyoming’s parks, call the Wyoming Parks and Recreation Department at 616-530-3164.
So, this spring and summer, make sure to get outside and enjoy the weather! Oh, and bring your furry friends too.