An effort to build a dog park in Chester started last summer. The project, spearheaded by the Chester Community Association (CCA), will be a facility where dog owners can take their favorite canine for exercise and safe play with other dogs.
The CCA has worked through several steps including developing a relationship with the Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Department, getting initial approval from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) and contributing the first $5,000 to the effort.
“This new dog park in Chester will be an excellent addition and asset to our community,” said Sean Eichert, vice president of the CCA and Commercial Portfolio Manager at Plus Management. “Not only will it be an opportunity for dogs to run and play in a safe, off-leash area, but also an opportunity for residents to get out, exercise and interact with their dogs, friends and neighbors.”
The only county-owned dog park in Chesterfield County is the Ruff House Dog Park located in Rockwood Park. “The department is excited to partner with the CCA for a Dog Park at Goyne Park. The one at Rockwood has been a tremendous success and we anticipate the same in Chester. Not only will the Chester Dog Park provide a ‘closer to home’ location, it will be in a wooded area, which will provide shade for the dogs and their owners,” said Stuart Connock, Chief of Parks – Planning and Construction Services for Chesterfield. The Ruff House Dog Park is a partnership between The Friends of Ruff House and Chesterfield County Parks and Rec.
“I am very excited about this new dog park! Currently, Ruff House Dog Park is the only public dog park in the county and it will be great to have another dog park close by that dogs and their people can enjoy,” said Rebecca A. Rogers, Ruff House Dog Park Chairman. “Our volunteer organization, Friends of Ruff House Dog Park, started because the dog park was there, but there was not anyone to steward it.”
The Chester organization has a few hurdles to bring the project to fruition: Raise 50 percent of the estimated $60,000 cost, get the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors’ approval to provide the balance of the cost of the installation and develop a group of volunteers to man the park.
The park would be developed in three phases: Phase I would include fencing, signs, pet stations and a water line for the large dog area; Phase II would be the balance of fencing, sidewalk and entry plaza, general grading and seeding in the area and Phase III would include benches, picnic tables, agility equipment and an info kiosk.
According to a draft memorandum between County Parks and Recs and the CCA: the target for the start of the project is spring of 2016 for installation of fencing and waterline; Parks to do clearing, site clean-up and football shed relocations possibly over the winter; CCA would set up subcommittee for the initial effort and transition into a split-off group for operation of the facility.
This committee will be chaired by CCA member Megan Madison; Parks will assign Margie Bryan as project manager for the fencing and waterline; fund-raising will target local businesses and individuals and Parks.
Rogers said shaded areas are the ‘social hubs’ of the park. We also had to figure out how to educate park goers about the posted rules and empower them to expect everyone who walked into the park to follow them for the safety of people, dogs, and the park.