City plans improvements to Eisenhower dog park

The dog park at Eisenhower Park wasn’t crowded mid-afternoon Saturday, but a few dogs, with their owners, could be found there. Here, Nala, in the foreground, appears to enjoy the open grassy area. Behind her is Daisy.

In the coming months, the city will be revamping the dog run area at Eisenhower Park, one in a series of improvements at Eisenhower.

The dog park, a simple fenced-in area in the back of Eisenhower Park off West River Street, will be made larger and there will be separate areas for large and small dogs. When the project is complete, Animal Shelter Commission member Susan Stanek said she thinks the dog run will be more like an actual dog park than just a simple run area.

Plans call for fixing an irrigation problem that leaves the area sometimes muddy and soppy, and installing new fencing.

Mayor Ben Blake said the Public Works Department will create a concrete walkway within the fenced-in area for dog owners, and will install benches. There will also be trees planted, and some dog amenities, like rocks and such for climbing and traversing.

There will be a water fountain for dogs and one for people.

“We wanted to start in the spring,” Blake said, “but there were too many projects for Public Works.”

Blake said when the park is complete it will be about double the size it is now. Work is expected to start in a month, and while the area may be closed for three weeks as the work is completed, the city will give advance notice of the closure, Blake said.

Public Works Director Chris Saley said he hopes the work will start at the end of September or early October. “We hope to be done before the end of the fall,” Saley said.

Irene Albors Gonzalez, a regular park user, said she is thrilled about the plans, especially since she thought the park needed some work.

Recently, family members were visiting the city and they brought their dog along to the park. The visiting dog found a hole under the fence, got out, and it took several hours to find him.

“I really want a safe place for all dogs,” Gonzalez said. “Having a small dog park and a large dog park would be a huge help. In addition, I am so excited to have a secure fence! Over time the current one has broken significantly. As I live in an apartment with two dogs, I rely on the park daily for my girls to get all their energy out.”

She said there is a Facebook group of people who use the dog park, and there are 150 members who coordinate play dates and give updates on the park’s condition.

Elyse Dudzinski had her dogs at the park this past weekend and she also said she would welcome some improvements, like a water fountain for the dogs.

The simple fenced in area is a little “sad,” she said, but it’s a place that certainly serves a purpose.

“I don’t have much of a yard, so it’s nice to let our dogs run and play with other dogs,” Dudzinski said.

It’s hard to say just how many dogs reside in Milford, or how many of those use the Eisenhower Park running area. According to City Clerk Joanne Rohrig, there are 2,735 licensed dogs in Milford.

The improved dog park will be the third in a series of recent park improvements. This summer the city unveiled a new splash pad park on the North Street side of the park, as well as new pickleball courts.

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