Big donation boosts Salisbury’s Bark Park

Salisbury’s furry four-legged residents will soon have their own place to romp and play with each other and their human companions along the city’s Riverwalk.

On Tuesday, officials with SVN-Miller Commercial Real Estate presented Mayor Jake Day with $15,125 for the new Downtown Bark Park near the Brew River restaurant.

In July, the city and the real estate company announced a crowd-funding campaign to raise $5,000 for a new dog park, with SVN Miller pledging to match that amount. The final fundraising total was $5,125, with another $5,000 each given by SVN Miller and SVN International.

“You came through in a big way,” Day told a crowd gathered for a formal check presentation at the site.

Mary Grace Massey, who came to the event with Everly, her Old English Sheepdog, said she plans to visit the new park often once it’s completed.

“It’s really going to be nice,” she said.

Massey said she takes Everly to the dog park inside City Park, but large dogs like hers have worn away the grass on the area set aside for them, leaving nothing but dirt underneath, she said.

The new dog park will likely have a combination of grass, turf and crushed granite for off leash running.

“That’s going to be awesome,” Massey said. “It makes a huge difference.”

Day said the city created the small park area in between the Mill Street bridge and Brew River years ago with state Program Open Space funds, but it is hardly ever used. Converting it to a dog park will attract more people and will tie in well with nearby completed projects and others that are still on the drawing board.

“With residential space in our Downtown already full to capacity, and more being built every day, it is certain that we will continue to see an increase in the number of families with pets who choose to live here,” he said. “For dog owners, access to the Bark Park could clinch the decision to live Downtown.”

Plans for the park also include benches for pet owners, a doggie water fountain, aluminum fencing with “puppy protection” bottoms and an airlock to surround the approximately 4,000 square feet of property running alongside the Wicomico River.

There also will be multiple doggie bag stations to encourage proper waste disposal.

Off-leash dog parks benefit dogs, but also benefit the community, according to city officials. Routine exercise and socialization prepare dogs to meet new friends at ease in numerous social settings.

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