Three Creeks Park could be the site of a new dog park in the late spring or summer of 2008.
Mark Young, assistant director of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, stated that a 4.5 acre area at Sycamore Fields in Three Creeks Park near Watkins and Spangler roads is being considered for the dog park.
Dog parks are areas set aside for dogs to run free and play with other dogs while under the watchful eyes of their owners.
"It would be an enclosed, off leash area that would have a large dog area and a smaller, fenced off section for smaller dogs," said Young.
Twenty-five additional parking spots are planned near the dog park. Plans also call for incorporating the existing spilt rail fences into the dog park by attaching a mesh backing to them. Young stated this would help maintain the agricultural character of the park, which is located near Smith Farms.
Young said the project is being put out to bid and the estimated cost to develop the dog park is $225,000.
"We have plans, but a lot depends on the cost," said Young. "It will be a great attraction for the south side."
According to Young, a group of pet owners on Columbus’ south side began advocating for a dog park in 2005 and submitted a petition with 200 signatures supporting a dog park at Three Creeks Park. The Columbus Dog Park Advisory Committee, a 12 member group of pet advocates, recommended the Sycamore Fields site to Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.
"Dog parks are in high demand as pet owners are looking for safe and secure public spaces to let their dogs exercise and socialize without the constraint of a leash," said Young. "Leashes are not required in the dog park, but pet owners must keep their dogs under voice control. A pet owner can bring no more than two dogs to the park at a time. Any dog displaying aggressive behavior must be removed from the dog park immediately."
Young added that a "Friends of the Dog Park" group will be formed from the south side advocates, as well as others, who sought the creation of the dog park. He said this group of volunteers will help monitor the park, help people use the park, inform people about park rules, and raise funds for future park amenities.
"They’ll be a very active group," said Young.
Dog park benefits
CHA Animal Shelter Manager Stephanie Wimbish said not only dogs and their owners benefit from dog parks – animal shelters do, too.
"This is achieved by having fundraisers that benefit both entities. Also, the parks help strengthen the bond between pet and owner making them less likely to surrender their pet to an animal shelter," said Wimbish. "Plus it helps to really exercise dogs, which makes for a tired dog when they return home, thus not a destructive, badly behaved dog."
Groveport resident Jennifer Hardesty, who currently drives her Great Dane, Natasha, to distant dog parks Gahanna or Columbus to run, welcomes the idea of a dog park at Three Creeks Park.
"As a dog owner, I think that dog parks are a good idea because socialized dogs are better behaved dogs. It also gives you the opportunity to meet new friends and to discuss issues such as training or behavior problems with other pet owners," said Hardesty.