Ditch Goes To The Dogs

Innovative Design

Riprap is the standard choice when selecting a method of slowing down drainage water, but in the case of this dog park, it wouldn’t do. Instead, a series of stair-like steps was used in place of the riprap, allowing an otherwise ugly area to be given new life as an amphitheater. Imprints of dog paw prints trailing every which way along the structure added a bit of playfulness that warmed up the cold concrete feature.

The Lay Of The Land

Since CosmoDogPark is also for people, there is plenty of seating, shade and places to socialize. The park is lighted, which allows it to be open from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. And, dog owners that prefer to bring their own dog watering bowl have access to a spigot.

For the four-legged users, the park has four fenced areas. “We have separate fenced areas for active dogs and the smaller or timid dogs,” says Ryall.

“Grassy areas will only survive if you select a variety of tough grasses that can withstand the constant pounding,” Ryall explains. “And, the fencing should look like normal fencing and not a prison system.” The fencing at Cosmo is 4 feet high.

The entrance/exit area is also double-gated, which helps dog owners to keep their pets under control and make an easy transition into or out of the park. “Don’t shortchange on the gates or latches. Make sure you use self-closing gates and latches,” says Ryall. “There are a lot of little escape artists out there.”

Grand Beginnings

Over 5,000 people attended the grand opening in 2006. “The canine officers were the rock stars,” Ryall notes. “People could get autographed pictures of the canine officers.” An old-style carnival attraction with a new twist proved to be one of the most popular activities of the day–it was a large photo-board of the canine officer in uniform, but with an opening at the face, so dog owners could get a photo of their dog’s face with the physique of the canine officer.

“The community was so engaged. We really touched on a heartstring, and the park has resonated with people,” says Ryall. “We’re a very family-oriented community; our pets are such a part of the community, and people love their children and their dogs.”

Cosmo DogPark has won multiple awards and continually proves that a dog park can be more than just a fenced area for dogs to run free–it can be a fun place for a community to come together.

Tammy York is the owner of LandShark Communications LLC which specializes in media and public relations for outdoor recreation businesses. Her book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Cincinnati, is available online and in bookstores. You can reach her at landsharkpr@yahoo.com.

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