Where puppies and their people meetRather than the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, Red Wing Dog Park Association cut a leash when dedicating the addition to A.P. Anderson Park about a year and a half ago.
Rather than the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, Red Wing Dog Park Association cut a leash when dedicating the addition to A.P. Anderson Park about a year and a half ago.
Since then, hundreds of dogs and their owners have enjoyed the open space where the animals can run, play and mingle off their leashes.
“It’s been exactly what we envisioned,” association President Bob Cook said.
The project took nearly three years to come to fruition, association Vice President Muff Allen said. But seeing pet owners' responses to the three-quarter acre site made all the work worthwhile.
"The best part for me is seeing what happens when you're there," Allen said. "There are a lot of people who go almost daily. They not only have gotten to know each other, they know the dogs by name. It's sort of a community bonding experience."
The dog park sits east of the southern playground at A.P. Anderson Park and measures roughly 100 yards by 200 yards. There are a couple of gates and a holding area, where people can unleash their dogs before letting them into the larger fenced-in area.
The seemingly simple structure was a complex undertaking, according to Allen and Cook. They encountered obstacles at every step — finding a location, establishing rules, gaining city approval, raising funds and finally beating winter to the punch with a late-autumn installation.
"People wanted it enough that they persevered," Allen said.
Now, the city maintains the space, while donations and fees — such as registration for dogs at the park — have covered the costs for envelopes and dog tags, Cook said.
Many people have said they’d like to see an expansion, and possibly separate areas for small and large dogs, Cook said.
That could come in the future, with fundraising and other efforts. But for now, the park is fulfilling its purpose.
“The big goal was to give people a place to socialize their dogs and to allow them to run off-leash in a safe environment,” Cook said. “I think it’s accomplishing that.”
For more information on the dog park, visit www.redwingdogpark.com.