MARION — On Thursday, Marion Park District unveiled The Bark Park, a new 39,150 square foot park for canines located at 1100 W. Goodall St. Jack Reed, director of parks and recreation at Marion Park District, said the park is expected to open in January.

Reed said the project began in October and was completed by park district staff.

Ashley Gott, president of Marion Park District Board, said the Bark Park is the result of the park district listening to its constituents.

“A lot of peopled expressed a desire to have an area to bring their dogs to play. They wanted to be able to enjoy the park with their dogs,” Gott said.

Reed said Erica Pancoast-Carnine of Doggie Stylz was very instrumental in planning the park.

“She really moved it forward,” Reed said.

The park has separate fenced areas for small and large dogs. The large dog side is 80 feet by 290 feet. The small dog side is 55 by 290. Each area includes a pavilion with concrete flooring and picnic tables, as well as electricity and running water. Visitors should bring a water bowl for their dogs.

“We tried to make is nice for our patrons to be able to relax in the pavilion,” Reed said.

One of the most unique features of the park is its play structures for dogs. Each side contains three structures: a ramp feature with a crawl-through tunnel, a curved tunnel and a jump. The play features were constructed by Marion Park District personnel from outdated play equipment. For example, the curved tunnels were part of a spiral slide that used to be on the playground at Marion Soccer Complex.

Each area also has a “dogipot” waste container for disposal of pet waste that includes baggies and a receptacle.

The Bark Park is membership-based, meaning you have to join to bring your dog to play. Membership for the first dog in a family is $20 per year, and $5 for each additional to the maximum of four dogs per member. Also, patrons will be required to provide vaccination information.

Members do not have to be residents of Marion.

“Anyone can pay the membership fee and go through the registration process,” Reed said. “A lot of people visit our parks who are not from Marion.”

A secure keypad will be installed on the gate. New passwords will be emailed to members each quarter.

More information on registration and application process is available at the park district administrative office in Ashley Park at 519 Parish Ave. or by calling the office at 618-993-3940 or by visiting the park district website at www.marionparks.com.

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Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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