Marshalltown Dog Park nears third anniversary

June 19, 2010 was a day of celebration for many Marshalltown dog owners.

That day, the dog park in Marshalltown’s Riverview Park officially opened to much fanfare.

The late Gene Beach, as mayor, presided over a Chamber of Commerce sponsored ribbon-cutting at the 4.5 acre, leash-free facility in the far east end of the park.

Joining Beach in the festivities was Parks and Recreation director Terry Gray, local elected officials, and members of the Dog Park committee.

After more than one year of planning and fundraising, the committee saw first hand fruits of their labor.

Now, almost three years later, the positive feeling generated from the grand opening still remains.

Chad Weir of Parks and Recreation said the park is thriving.

“The park has been successful,” he said. “We monitor day-to-day use, registrations, and we know some use it year ’round.

Although this spring has been colder, with much more rain compared to 2012, we expect to see more owners and their dogs there once the ground dries and weather stabilizes.”

Weir said word of the park has been relayed to visitors.

“I know from my work on the Convention & Visitors Bureau committee that local hoteliers tell out-of-town guests about the park,” he said. “And word has spread to neighboring communities.”

Weir said construction of the park, which began in May, 2010, sparked other improvements at Riverside.

“The dog park was the first of several improvements we’ve made the last three years at Riverview,” he said. “Since June, 2010, we’ve added disc golf, two new pathways, basketball courts and benches, among other amenities.”

Now is the time for residents to renew annual registration to use the park at Parks and Recreation offices, 10 W. State St., Weir said.

Registration fees help pay for park maintenance.

Owners of neutered or spayed dogs pay $20 to register their dog for the entire year, while others are $25. There is a $5 discount for other dogs in the same family. Day passes are also available for $2.

Nancy Earney of Marshalltown was a member of the original committee and is still active.

“Marshalltown’s canine population is ready to get back to the park,” she said.

She encouraged residents to register their dogs as soon as possible.

Earney said residents may register their dog at Theisen’s Farm, Home and Auto store 10 to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Dog owners should bring proof of their dog’s current vaccinations and neutering/spaying.

Forms are available at local veterinarian offices.

The park offers benches, a double-gate entry for safety, shade trees and water.

The large dog grounds contain 3.5 acres and the small dog area 0.7 acres.

The park grounds are handicap accessible with free-of-charge parking.

Park rules are posted at the entrance.

“Registering your dogs each year is a great way to support the park and future improvements,” said Earney. “Going to the park is a great activity for one’s dog and family.”