City’s long-awaited dog park now open

Published 4:39 pm Monday, October 1, 2018

PELHAM – Dog lovers united on Sunday, Sept. 30, for the opening of the Pelham Barks and Recreation Dog Park.

“This is something we’ve wanted for a long time and I’m glad we were able to make it happen,” said Parks and Recreation Director Billy Crandall.

Crandall said the turnout for the opening and excitement surrounding the project was better than he could have ever expected.

“I hope the citizens like it and I think you all will,” Crandall said before a crowd of pets and pet owners eager enter the dog park.

The park, located in behind the rec center in Pelham City Park, is free to the public and includes separate areas for small and large dogs. The 0.2-acre small dog and 0.75-acre large dog areas are separated by a 10-foot buffer, which also serves as an area for pet owners to lounge while their pets play. Dog waste stations are installed to help ensure cleanliness.

Benches are installed to accommodate pet owners. Large limestone rocks found at the site were saved and used to add a natural feel to the park. Wooden obstacles for the dogs were constructed by Pelham native Paul Christian Benton.

A temporary walking trail has been installed through joint efforts by the city and county to provide a way to residents to get to the dog park from the new sand volleyball and basketball courts beside the rec center.

Pelham resident Jessica Zahorscak said the size of the park is awesome.

“It’s so much bigger than the one in Alabaster, which is the one we’ve been going to,” she said. “I love the natural feel of it with the wooden obstacles for the dogs, and it’s grass instead of turf. We will definitely be coming back.”

Although, Zahorscak likes the park, she said she was hoping there would be a restroom close by and lights for when it starts to get dark early in the winter. Zahorscak said she and her friends try to make it to the dog park two or three times throughout the week and just about every weekend.

“I meet up with my friends and our dogs play with each other,” she said. “I can tell that it’s really made a difference with socialization. It’s great to have a safe place for them to play because a tired dog is a good dog at the end of the day.”

Crandall said updates about the dog park can be found on the Parks and Recreation website and Facebook page. A Facebook page for the dog park will be created soon.