Radford’s first dog park marks city’s future
RADFORD — Radford residents will soon have a new place to let their pets play.
Construction on Radford’s first dog park should begin next month, according to Radford City Manager David Ridpath.
The 1-acre dog park, slated to open in early July, will be located behind Radford’s Animal Control building, at the old police department firing range, on Pulaski Street, Ridpath said.
Radford Parks and Recreation Director Ken Goodyear, who will oversee the dog park, said the park will include a large covered shelter, several picnic tables, a water spigot for the dogs, dog waste bags, receptacles, trees, benches and even a couple of fire hydrants.
Fencing has been ordered and should be constructed within the next two weeks, Goodyear said.
Goodyear said the opportunity will alleviate problems in other parks where pet owners have allowed their pets to run and play without a leash. Additionally, pet owners will not have to travel to Blacksburg to enjoy a dog park, Goodyear added.
Ridpath said fencing will cost about $5,900 while all other structures are already in place. The dog park has been made possible by grants, the operational budget and donations, Ridpath added.
Thanks to a $2,000 donation from the family of David Horton, 12 trees and a sign designating the park in honor of their grandfather and former Radford Police Chief William Lorton have been purchased, Goodyear said.
David Horton said the donation wasn’t about him or his family, but about Lorton, who helped establish the space that is now being repurposed as a dog park.
“[Lorton] attended the FBI Academy earlier in his police career and had seen trained dogs who could sniff for drugs or explosives, and he loved the relationship between dogs and their trainer,” Horton said.
Horton said dog park construction has become a community effort, even involving students from Radford University.
Students, faculty and staff helped plant the 12 trees at the dog park as a part of the Scholar-Citizen Initiative at Radford University. The group also received help from the Rotary Club of Radford Noon.
But projects such as this wouldn’t be possible without key leadership, Horton added.
Horton said leaders such as city council members, Radford Mayor Bruce Brown, Ridpath and Goodyear have worked in a progressive and exciting manner that makes it possible for Radford to continue to grow and prosper.
Brown believes the dog park is just the beginning of good things to come for the city in the near future.
“We are built around a performance dashboard,” Brown said. “We like to look in the rearview mirror and see that we’ve made a difference.”
Brown said another goal the city has is to establish a Radford community foundation and that there is a great deal of support from the community behind initiatives from a disc golf course to a skate park.
“Radford is a prideful city, and they want to see it sustain itself as an independent city,” Brown said. “I think with the right leadership in place in the city administration to further leverage, that there will be some good stuff going on.”
Karen Walker, president of Pound Pals of Radford, a nonprofit shelter placement-and-rescue organization, said the dog park initiative is a great opportunity for Radford residents.
“A dog park will provide a safe area for play and exercise for Radford dogs,” Walker said. “Everyone who has contacted Pound Pals about the new dog park is thrilled, and we’d like to thank the city of Radford for supporting the project.”
Radford’s dog park is just one idea the city has been working on, and Brown hopes to bring other ideas to fruition to ensure that Radford offers its residents amenities to enhance their quality of life.
“We’d like to keep this place young and vibrant,” Brown said.
“You have to do these things to make that happen.”
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627