Grapevine is going full speed ahead with plans for its first dog park but a pipeline project put a few wrinkles in the timeline.
Construction will start soon on two of the six off-leash areas for the $1.5 million dog park planned at Big Bear Creek Park on Texas 360. The sections, both for large dogs, are scheduled to open this fall, said Kevin Mitchell, Grapevine’s director of parks.
Four more fenced-in paddocks are planned. There will be two for smaller dogs, one fenced-in area for special programming that could be rented out and another small section with a spray pad for dogs and children.
“All the paddocks are designed to give you a different experience,” Mitchell said. “We’ve gone to other dog parks and essentially taken the best practices from all of them and combined them into this. It’s taken longer than we all wanted, obviously.”
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Having two areas for small dogs and two for large dogs allows Grapevine to close one for maintenance or to give the grass time to rejuvenate, Mitchell said.
Dana McCormick said she’s excited about taking her goldendoodle, Romero, to the new dog park this fall. She’ll be able to walk there from her neighborhood following the Big Bear Creek trail.
“He just loves running around and chasing after other dogs,” she said. “I love providing Romero a good time and have him get good exercise.”
It’s also beneficial for the humans. McCormick and her husband led an effort to stop the extension of the Heritage Avenue bridge over Parr Park in Grapevine. They wore their shirts to another dog park and recruited people to their cause. The City Council later nixed the controversial bridge from the 2017 bond package.
“I have great conversations with someone I don’t know so I think it helps build a sense of community,” McCormick said. “It’s a place where you can go and be happy--You have to be in a good mood when you leave.”
Small dogs will have to wait a little longer
Grapevine had to delay everything but the large dog paddocks because the Trinity River Authority is building a 48-inch sewer line through that area.
The city will wait until the TRA pipeline project is complete before starting the second phase of the dog park. The TRA has accelerated the pipeline that goes through the park so it’ll get done sooner and Grapevine can proceed with the rest of the dog park improvements.
Construction on the parking lot and remaining four paddocks is set for 2019.
The pipeline project shouldn’t interfere with the youth baseball fields to the north, though the Bear Creek Linear Trail and one of the bridges over the creek will need to be relocated, Mitchell said.
The new bridge will be closer to the baseball fields, making it easier to traverse between the two fields.
“When we do this, it will be a better amenity for them as well,” Mitchell said.
Digging into the details
Mature trees dominate the landscape, providing shade for squirrels and other wildlife that forage in the park. Small streams can be heard flowing east into Bear Creek. And remains of an old disc golf course can still be seen in the meadows.
Grapevine plans to keep as many of the trees as possible for the 14-acre dog park and there’s a new bridge planned over the creek so dogs and their owners can access the large dog paddocks from the new parking lot off the frontage road.
The off-leash areas for large dogs will be more than an acre each.
Both the large and small dog paddocks will have real grass, rock formations for dogs and people to sit and climb on and shade structures.
The smaller fenced-in areas — one with the spray pad and the other meant for special programming and party/special event rentals — will have artificial turf. The spray pad was donated by Hollywood Feed in downtown Grapevine. Mitchell envisions skills or agility contests or people renting it out for birthday parties or other events.
There will also be paved areas where booths and tents can be set up near the parking lot for the Grapevine Animal Shelter and rescue groups to set up.
“We want to have adoption days,” Mitchell said. “We work really closely with our animal shelter here in Grapevine.”
The amenities throughout the dog park were derived from a public meeting where Grapevine residents put stickers next to the photos of items they would want in their dog park.
“The citizens basically helped design the park and then the design team put everything together,” Mitchell said.
McCormick applauds the city for taking so much feedback about what Grapevine residents want in a dog park.
“Grapevine is setting the standard for all future dog parks,” she said.
Carlos Merla has been a strong advocate for a dog park for his Great Pyrenees, Cam, for many years. He’s always driving to Trophy Club’s dog park and welcomes having one closer to home. He said Grapevine is known for its great hotels, including some that are dog friendly. The problem is, visitors have to go to other cities to find dog parks.
“That’s something Grapevine doesn’t want,” Merla said. “We want our commerce to stay here.”
He called the plans for Grapevine’s dog park “top notch” and said he’s glad Grapevine is finally getting one. He added that he’d like to see the whole city become more dog friendly with water bowls, waste stations and other things to make dogs feel welcome on Main Street in downtown Grapevine.
“Only true dog owners realize it,” he said.