After years of planning, fund-raising and organizing, the Sewanee Dog Park is now open to the public, humans and dogs. The grand opening will occur some time in the early fall.
Located adjacent to Lake Cheston, off of Breakfield Road, the Dog Park is a .8-acre area that is set aside for dogs to run freely and play. There are two segments in the park: one for dogs under 20 pounds and elderly dogs, and a more spacious area for larger dogs.
Phil White, a Sewanee Community Council member who has spearheaded this project, said he is very pleased with the final result.
“In the two days the Dog Park has been open, I have already met three very nice people I probably would not have had the chance to get to know,” White said. “Things can only get better for Sewanee when more community members become acquainted with one another and share ideas. And the dog park is a natural place for that to happen.”
Anyone is free to use the park at any time. Pet owners must use poop bags from the dispenser to pick up after their dogs. The rules for the park are clearly posted at the location.
When White was mowing the large lot on Aug. 19, some patrons were running their dogs in the small-dog area.
“When I stopped mowing, they praised the construction and appearance of the park very highly. They found the materials blending in beautifully with the setting, and thought that the location is excellent,” he said.
There is still work to be done to complete the effort, White said. Grass will be planted later, and a rain shelter for pet owners and other additions to the park are planned.
“Thanks again to everyone who has donated time and money to this much needed addition to the campus, and thanks to all the University officials who granted the space and spent so much time and money clearing and running the water lines,” White said. He also thanked Kay Rhodes, Tim and Mesha Provo, Caroline Shoemaker, Carolyn and Richard O’Connor, Marney Babbit, John Vineyard and Nate Wilson.
The exercise ramp donated by the Girl Scouts will be completed soon, and Eagle Scout candidate Mack Lindau will be building an attractive kiosk for announcements.
Because of the generosity of donations from community members, White said, “The park is built out of such high quality materials that it should outlast our children and probably our grandchildren with minimum maintenance.”
In his initial proposal to the Community Council about the park, White said, “Regular dog park visitors report that in parks their dogs become socialized—learn how to behave around strangers and other dogs. They often report that after a few visits to a dog park, their dogs no longer bark at every dog that passes their house.”