The Locust Point Dog Park
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If you have a dog, chances are you have been to the Locust Point Dog Park. The terrifically-designed canine playground, featuring an AstroTurf hill, huge tree branch, water fountain canyon, tree planters and benches, is a favorite of South Baltimore dogs and dog owners. Unlike most dog parks, Locust Point Dog Park is completely dirt free. Made entirely of AstroTurf, concrete and stone, the dog park leaves dogs not only exhausted but clean when they get home.
The park is a terrific asset to the city, but without a hardworking group of Locust Point neighbors, it wouldn’t exist. I was joined by Locust Point Dog Park President Meg Kelley to tell me how it all began.
In late 2007, after a group of ten Locust Point residents decided they needed a dog park, fundraising began. With a target budget of $50,000, the group created fundraising events, including “Yappy Hour” fundraisers with area bars, as well as soliciting local businesses for donations. They raised the money after 18 months, with the largest contribution coming from McHenry Row Developer Mark Sapperstein.
The group then had a plan designed by Thomas Balsey and Associates, who had designed many urban dog parks in the country, but soon discovered construction would cost closer to $100,000. At that point, a Go Green Initiative Fund created by Mayor Sheila Dixon provided terrific timing. The fund from the city gave the Locust Point Dog Park the budget needed to construct the park. Construction began and the grand opening was in September 2009.
Though Baltimore City contractors constructed the space, the park is a completely volunteer operation – everything from maintenance to cleaning. If you are looking to help out there is a cleanup scheduled for this Saturday, February 25th at 10am and on Saturday, March 10th at 10am. They’d love your help!
Patterson Park is slated to be the next spot for a dog park in the city. When Kelley was asked her advice for the project, she said “a separate area for large and small dogs would be very useful.” It appears however that, at least for now, it will feature just one area. Kelley and the Locust Point Dog Park is also assisting Canton Dog Park’s campaign to fundraise $50,000 to resurface and improve drainage at the park. Thus far they are halfway to their goal.
Locust Point has always been one of the great urban neighborhoods in America and they have certainly shown us why through the success in planning and creating a terrific space for your furry best friend. The park is a great asset to this community and it has certainly shown other neighborhoods and the City of Baltimore just how valuable a dog park is for residents. Hopefully it leads to many more!