Dog Park Now Open
Last updated 8/26/2020 at 8:03pm
Shortly before the scheduled 7:30 a.m. soft opening, Ed and Dianne Knox and Bailey Anne, their two-year-old beagle-hound mix, were the first to arrive at the new dog park.
Dianne Knox expressed her appreciation that the park was finally going to open. She added that Bailey Anne would be joined by her best friend, Penny. As they awaited the gates to be opened, she commented on the park and how it had been laid out. "There are trees for shade, and benches for people."
As she spoke, her husband took Bailey Anne to the other side of the road across from the dog park, so she could do her business. As he did, the Knox's were soon joined by the Kimbrough family: Tracy, Mary and David and their two dogs, a terrier mix named Mimi, and a boxer named Brisket.
"I'm very excited. It's been a long time coming," said Tracy Kimbrough, who added that she and her family had moved to Bartow from Lakeland four years ago. "Now I don't have to go back to Lakeland for my dogs to have communal time."
They waited patiently while Park and Recreation employees put the finishing touches to the new dog park. Finally, the gates were open, and the Kimbroughs were the first to enter the park. A few minutes later, the Knox family entered. Immediately after an initial sniffing, and in one case, going to the bathroom, the three dogs began running about.
A few minutes later the dogs would be joined by Penny, a one-year-old golden doodle. Joining her were Michelle Adams and three of her five children, Justin, Kyle and Elizabeth. Almost immediately all the dogs were sniffing one another and then running around, leaping and cavorting, and just having fun.
"I'm just so happy to see them all get along so well," said Michelle Adams.
The dog park, located shortly past the entrance to Mary Holland Park, is divided into two sections, one for large dogs 26 pounds and above, and for small dogs who weigh less. A sign at the entrance explains the requirements, rules and regulations for both dogs and humans. Dianne Knox said she believed the dog park is part of the city's strategic plan, but that it had taken a number of years --- she believed it was at least six --- from concept to completion. But regardless, now the park is a reality.