Wilsonville leaders expressed marked enthusiasm about how the new Memorial Park for dogs turned out during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, Oct. 14.
Wilsonville Parks and Recreation Director Mark McCarthy said building the park was one of the best projects he's worked on in 40 years, while City Manager Bryan Cosgrove was equally complementary and noted that the city saved money by relying on staff rather than contractors to complete much of the work.
"It's not just that you saved that much money for our residents. The finished product here, I'm not saying this hyperbolically, this is the most amazing dog park I've ever seen," he said.
The park, located next to the Wilsonville Community Garden, officially opened at 7:30 a.m. Friday. The old dog park, next to the disc golf course, will remain open for a week before closing.
The new park includes a large area for bigger dogs and another closure for smaller and more passive dogs, as well as plantings, benches, a full-service bathroom, a new drainage system and 3,000 feet of trails that connect to an existing park trail system.
"We were fortunate enough to pull a lot of elements out of some other local dog parks that we really like. It's the best of a lot of things we saw at other dog parks," Parks Supervisor Dustin Schull said.
The washing station, which includes four hoses, and the drainage system address dog owners' complaint that their pets would return home muddy due to poor drainage at the old park.
"It's (the washing station) going to give owners the opportunity to wash their pets whether they're using the park or not, and have a space where it's easy to maintain," Schull said.
The project was supposed to open in the spring but stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regional wildfires and delays in completing certain aspects like the bathroom and shelters.
"We wanted to make sure that when it was open it was done, complete and had all the amenities that we wanted to provide for the community," Schull said.
The old dog park is slated to be replaced with a BMX pump track and parking, Schull said. The new dog park is secluded from other activities, unlike the old one, and has 33 parking spaces. The Boeckman Creek Pedestrian Bridge was upgraded on Kolbe Lane to allow for vehicular access to the park.
"With the amount of traffic that Memorial Park gets with sports and recreation use, there's often parking issues and other issues that dog park users confront over there that may not be fair to their usage patterns. It's a dog park and community garden. Footprint of traffic will be less," Schull said.
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