For the first time in 25 years, a new dog park will open to the public in Palo Alto at Peers Park that boasts several features, including drinking fountains, seating, dog waste disposal stations and double-entry gates.
The city will celebrate the new open space area on Thursday evening, when Mayor Liz Kniss will cut the ceremonial ribbon at the event, which will be a "simple gathering," according to Community Services Department Chief Operating Officer Kristen O'Kane.
Construction on the new dog park began last April and finished on June 1 following a call for new canine-friendly spaces from the Community Services Department. The Peers dog park is located adjacent to the lawn and tennis court, with a separate section for small dogs.
There are three other off-leash dog parks in Palo Alto located at Hoover, Mitchell and Greer parks, but the Peers dog park was built markedly different from these as a result of community feedback and studies of successful dog parks. The former three dog parks have partial or complete dirt surfaces, while the Peers Park dog park has a grass surface. Additionally, the other three dog parks are half an acre or less, while the Peers dog park is spacious at 0.7 acres.
Dog owner Kellie Bloom lives in close proximity to the new dog park. In an interview, she praised the new facility and was particularly appreciative of features including nearby trees that provide shade, the water fountain and the small dog area.
"It is great to have a community dog park that's a couple of blocks away," Bloom said. "It is much healthier for the dog, which is better for the community."
Previously, Bloom took her dog to the Mitchell Park dog park, but found the dirt surface unappealing. For Bloom, the city's budget of $100,000 to $150,000 for the Peers dog park was a worthwhile expenditure.
"The dog park is a perfect use of that space (in Peers Park)," Bloom said. "The space was not being used at all and the park is huge. It's great."
The dog park at Peers is part of the city's Parks, Trails, Natural Space and Recreation Master Plan, approved last September, which proposed building six new dog parks. The Peers dog park will also abide by new rules adopted this past January for city dog parks: Pet owners are allowed to bring a maximum of three dogs to any dog park in the city and dog park hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The city is planning to build another dog park in late 2019 or early 2020 to further develop spaces in Palo Alto for dogs to roam around, according to Daren Anderson, manager of the city's Open Space, Parks and Golf Division.
The city's ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. at Peers Park, 1899 Park Blvd. Community members are invited to bring their furry loved ones.