Dog days in Chocowinity: Dog park grand opening this weekendPublished 8:59pm Monday, September 23, 2013
CHOCOWINITY — South side dogs will have a new playground this week thanks to a group of local volunteers.
The Chocowinity Dog Park will have its grand opening Saturday at 10 a.m. at its location at the Chocowinity Recreation Complex on N.C. Highway 33. The opening represents over a year’s worth of effort to plan, fund and build a place for pets, and their owners, to socialize.
Retired veterinarian Stan Cohen had wanted to build a dog park somewhere in the area for years, but land was the issue. So in June of 2012, Cohen approached Chocowinity Town Clerk Joy McRoy and Public Works Director Kevin Brickhouse about the prospect of putting the park on town-owned land at the recreation complex. They, and the board of commissioners, decided to offer up the land not being used at the complex. A few grants were sought, and fell through, but Cohen reached out the community and over 60 individuals and many area businesses pitched in for the park.
“By the middle of August, we had all the money we needed,” Cohen said. “Basically, we were able to raise $20,000 — most of that went to the fencing.”
For Brickhouse, it’s a win-win situation. The land was being mowed by town employees, but wasn’t being used, he explained.
“Nothing else really could be done with it,” Brickhouse said. “Really, there’s been no cost to the town (for the park) except running the water.”
Even that was done in conjunction with putting in another water line to the football field’s concession stand, he said.
The dog park stretches along the northern perimeter of the recreation complex. Two separate sections — one for dogs under 30 pounds, the other for bigger dogs — hold picnic tables and benches, a dog toy box, concrete tunnels, a time-out area for “bad dogs” and, as a whimsical touch and lure for the male of the species, fire hydrants painted bright red with yellow polka dots.
Brickhouse said they raided the town’s storage for some of the park’s unique features: the tunnels are actually concrete tiles used for drainage beneath driveways, removed over the years from various properties; the fire hydrants were taken from old asbestos cement water lines. All were given new coats of paint by dog park volunteers.
There are dog park rules and they are posted. No children under six years old are allowed and no dog can be left unattended.
“It’s not a drop-off area or an unsupervised dog area — they have to be supervised,” Cohen said. “People have to be responsible for their dogs.”
For Cohen, the dog park represents a way to get dogs and their owners out and socializing with their neighbors.
“This is truly a community dog park and we want people to come here and enjoy it and bring their pets,” Cohen said.
Cohen said that all are welcome at the grand opening Saturday.
“Anybody can come, and bring their dogs,” he said.
“Even people without dogs — come on,” Brickhouse added.
Chocowinity Dog Park hours are from dawn until dusk every day.