Radford residents, dogs enjoy new dog park
RADFORD – Radford Mayor Bruce Brown drew inspiration from Mayberry’s most famous deputy, Barney Fife, Wednesday as the city of Radford opened its new dog park, Sparky’s Run, on Pulaski Avenue.
“This is big. This is real big,” Brown, quoting Fife, told the crowd of about 50.
Brown said the dog park has been a part of the Recreation Commission’s comprehensive plan for the last 10 years. The park is something citizens have continually indicated they wanted, Brown added.
The park, Brown said, wouldn’t have been possible without the support of many Radford community members. “We couldn’t be more excited about adding another citizen service in Radford,” Brown said.
Radford Police Chief Don Goodman suggested the park be built on the city’s old police firing range by the river after the Town of Blacksburg opened a dog park on their old firing range last year.
The firing range, named after former Radford Police Chief William D. Lorton, Jr., received a makeover in several forms from various community members.
David Horton, grandson of Lorton, and his family donated $2,000 to purchase an official sign for the dog park and have 12 trees planted over the summer. Students from Radford University, along with the help of the Rotary Club of Radford Noon, planted the trees at the dog park.
Another community member, Pat Baldwin, made a donation to purchase two dog waste stations.
Long & Foster Real Estate sent 20 employees to the park to participate in a community service project to build picnic tables, pulled weeds and painted the park’s storage building.
Now that the official sign is up, Girl Scout Troop 1075 plans to build flower boxes and plant flowers around the sign as well as plant hanging flower boxes at the park.
Brown said the community will have to continue to be a part of the dog park moving into the future.
“This is something for you and this will be a work in progress,” Brown said. “There’s no way to anticipate what’s going to happen when we get everyone inside that gate.”
The City of Radford wants citizen’s input and feedback, Brown added.
Radford resident Kathy Byrd attended the grand opening with her Greyhound Katie and had high praise for the city’s new dog park.
“To me, it’s nice to have this spot where I can actually go and let her run a little bit because that’s what Greyhounds like to do,” Byrd said. “It’s a beautiful facility that’s large, fenced-in and safe.”
“It’s a wonderful addition to Radford.”
Brown said the town council began a series of retreats in 2010 and made it a priority to put in a performance dashboard. The council wanted to be measured by what they did and not what they said, Brown said.
The dog park was a priority and an important part of the landscape of Radford, Brown said.
“We’re going to continue to work together to make our communities a better place to reside for everybody so we can have a place for our children to come back to,” Brown said.
“Let’s continue to grow Radford to make it the heart of the New River Valley and city that it is.”
Individuals interested in donating money or equipment for the dog park should contact the Radford Parks and Recreation Department at 731-3639.
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627