Scott Ball / Rivard Report
After years of discussion, Maverick Park is one step closer to having an off-leash dog park.
The Historic and Design Review Commission approved plans for the Maverick Dog Park at its Wednesday meeting. The dog park will have features such as a ball-throwing area, drinking water, and a dog shower to hose down hot pooches in the summer.
Larry Clark, vice president and designer with Bender Wells Clark Design, estimated that the dog park could feasibly be constructed and ready to open by the end of the year. He said the cost of the project is roughly $500,000, and has been fully funded by the parks bond and donations from the citizen group Friends of Maverick Dog Park.
The budget includes funding improvements for the rest of Maverick Park as well. The downtown park at the corner of Broadway Street and East Jones Avenue is about three acres; the dog park will occupy one acre.
“The whole park is going to receive upgrades,” Clark said. “Sidewalks will be replaced. We’re going to have some really nice seating areas, with new furniture in the shade. We’re improving entries into the park, particularly at Broadway, making an inviting entry on that northwest corner with a little plaza.”
Ashley Riley-Heinz, co-project manager with Friends of Maverick Dog Park, said she’s been working on the project since 2016. The Friends group has been an advocate for the park and has raised $150,000 to build it, she said.
“It’s really exciting that it’s finally going forward,” Riley-Heinz said. “It’s one of those things when you start working with government entities, they have to double-check everything.”
The community around Maverick Park has shown strong support for the dog park, Riley-Heinz said. Not only did Friends of Maverick Dog Park raise about $3,000 from individual donors, but surrounding residential properties such as 1221 Broadway and Rivera and local nonprofit 80/20 Foundation also donated.
Riley-Heinz also heard a lot of support from nearby residents. A large fenced-off dog park will benefit the whole area, she said.
“People can congregate and activate the park and not worry about dogs running off,” she said. “[Most of the nearby apartment complexes] have some sort of variation of dog park, but they’re all very tiny. This one will have a creek bed, an agility area, a small and large dog park area. It’s just going to be more of a world-class dog park.”
Clark said the dog park was designed with sustainability in mind. For instance, there will be a bioswale along the park — a ditch with deep soil and native plants to take extra stormwater runoff and filter it before it goes into the river.
“It slows down the runoff coming off of it,” Clark explained. “The intent is to help recreate the pre-development hydrology, make it the way it was before we interfered with it. It’s like a rain garden for the dog park.”
Because the dog park falls within its downtown jurisdiction, the Historic and Design Review Commission had to approve the proposed dog park design.
Clark said it would take one to two months after approval to finalize the plan, which would then be brought forward to City Council for approval. He estimated a contractor could be chosen a month after opening the project for bids, and then construction would take about six months to complete. Sandy Jenkins, project manager with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, said all parties involved always kept Fiesta celebrations in mind; Maverick Park is a popular spot for parade viewing in the spring.
“We’ve really made sure our timing is going to facilitate getting a contractor in and out and not being there for Fiesta,” she said.
Jenkins added that Clark has done “a great job” designing the dog park.
“It’s going to be a really great dog park,” she said. “People are going to love it.”