By Karen Kennedy
By next summer, hundreds of Carmel dogs could be frolicking in their very own “Bark Park” at the Monon Community Center’s Central Park.
“The park board has authorized the solicitation of bids,” said Michael Klitzing, assistant director of Carmel Clay Parks. “The only thing we are waiting for now is the city’s approval of our storm water management plan. As soon as our engineers are able to get a handle on that, we will begin collecting bids for the work, and we are hoping to begin prepping the site by the end of this year. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be open by next summer.”
Preliminary work on the site, located near the intersection of 116th Street and Range Line Road, will include demolition of three existing buildings, grading of the land and installation of the storm water management systems.
The first phase of the park will be two acres, with divided areas for large and small dogs, restrooms, parking for forty cars, a shelter with seating for dog owners, and drinking fountains for both four-legged and two-legged visitors. The “Bark Park” will be surrounded by open meadows, a picnic shelter and trails leading to the Monon.
“Clearly there is a need and a demand for this park. It’s something we’ve consistently heard strong public support for, more so even than sporting fields. It was being talked about when I first started here, and I’ve been here for nine years,” Klitzing said. “Just this one park may not be enough to meet the demand, but it’s a start. We could possibly add two more parks down the road, one on the east side and one on the west side of town.”
The cost for membership in the Bark Park has not yet been determined, but it will be open from dawn to dusk.
Even more options for four-legged Carmel residents could soon be available, as Clay Terrace mall also recently announced that it is considering adding a dog park as well.