| June 11, 2010 -
The City of Knoxville’s Parks and Recreation, along with PetSafe, will host the ribbon cutting for the PetSafe Downtown Dog Park on Tuesday, June 15, at 10 a.m.
Located at the corner of Summit Hill Drive and Central Avenue, the $162,000 dog park features separate sections for large and small dogs, human and dog water fountains, and crushed-stone surface trails.
“We started exploring building a park here because we had a growing population downtown and lot of those folks had dogs and were interested in a place where they could take them off the leash,” said Mayor Bill Haslam. “So this ribbon cutting is one we’ve really been looking forward to and I know that this park will make a lot of people happy.”
PetSafe, in their commitment to make Knoxville the “Most Pet-Friendly Community” in the country, gave $100,000 to the project as part of its 2008 pledge of $500,000 to build five dog parks in Knox County. The Downtown Dog Park is the second of these PetSafe-funded parks, behind the one built in Tommy Schumpert Park last year.
“We’re grateful to Randy Boyd and PetSafe for their generosity not only in supporting this new dog park but also for their contributions in other areas as well,” Haslam said. “A lot of organizations were involved in this project and it’s another example of what can be accomplished when groups work together to make something good happen in our community.”
Knoxville Parks and Recreation began the search for the right downtown dog park location in late 2007. It took the efforts of several organizations working with the City to make the proposed dog park a reality. For example, the Tennessee Department of Transportation owned the property the dog park now sits.
“We knew several things—that there was a growing need for a downtown dog park, that we had to find a place convenient for both downtown residents and downtown visitors, and that we had to find a green space that didn’t have a greater potential to be developed commercially,” explained Joe Walsh, Director of Knoxville Parks and Recreation.
Walsh said that was when the City approached TDOT for the use of the one-acre right-of-way along James White Parkway. TDOT agreed to sign the land over to the City of Knoxville.
Shortly thereafter, PetSafe came forward to help fund the dog park. The City requested the services of the East Tennessee Community Design Center, which coordinated the public meetings for the dog park. They also produced the conceptual designs through donated services by Carol R Johnson Associates.
The City covered $50,000 of the project’s costs and locals worked to get a state grant for the park.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation awarded a $12,000 grant to the project to create a filtration system that prevents the park’s waste from entering the nearby First Creek.
The Public Building Authority oversaw the construction of the dog park, with Benefield Richters Co. serving as the architect and Rich Construction as the contractor.
The Downtown dog park is the fourth dog park in Knoxville, following the PetSafe Village, Victor Ashe Park, and Tommy Schumpert Park.
Walsh said dog parks are a great way to contribute to a healthier community.
“Studies have shown that people who own dogs tend to live a healthier lifestyle because their dogs keep them moving,” said Walsh. “With that in mind, we want to give them a place to go.”
For more information on the PetSafe Downtown Dog Park, please call 311 or visit www.cityofknoxville.org/recreation/dogparks.asp .