Our excitable and energetic canine friends have not wasted anytime heading down to the Muriel Baxter Dog Park, but on Wednesday, April 13, the City of Cranbrook officially opened the new off-leash green space on 2nd Street South and Victoria Avenue.
Representatives of the City of Cranbrook and School District 5 gathered at the park to celebrate the collaboration that made the park a reality.
The park has already been seeing heavy four-footed traffic. Appropriate fencing was put in place by JRJ Fencing of Cranbrook almost a month ago. There are two new sets of gates in the park, one set over by the old school grounds and another one over in the corner by Victoria Avenue — a high traffic area. And the park includes a separate enclosure for small dogs, in case they or their owners aren’t comfortable with being among the big dogs.
The concept of the Muriel Baxter Dog Park has the support of the family of that iconic Cranbrook teacher for whom the now vanished school was named, and the project itself has been in the works for almost a decade.
The City of Cranbrook said in a press release that both Moir Centennial Athletic Park and even the Moir Park gravel pit — once reclamation work was complete — were considered for the project. But input from residents supported a decision to try finding a more central location. A decision by City Council a year ago reallocated funds earmarked for the Moir site to redeveloping the Muriel Baxter school site.
Both the School District and the City had partnered on a number of recreational projects including the redevelopment of the Mount Baker tennis courts. The School District proposed to the City that if the municipality was interested in managing the vacant Muriel Baxter property as a dog park, they would provide access to the site.
SD5 Board Chair Frank Lento says it is collaborations like this one that make our community stronger.
“When politicians stop looking at who’s responsible for what and simply look at what is needed, we strengthen our foundation as a community. That’s the power of partnership.”
The City release said staff will continue to look at opportunities to create other dog friendly areas throughout the City.
“Dog park development is one of the highest growth amenities in park systems across North America,” says Chris New, Director of Leisure Services for the City of Cranbrook. “Our residents were looking for this option within our own park system. We were also looking to provide options for dog friendly areas because we are having challenges with residents running their pets on prohibited areas like sports fields and ball diamonds.”
Information signage is posted at the Muriel Baxter dog park and can be found on the City of Cranbrook website @ www.cranbrook.ca – check under the ‘Residents’ tab and click on ‘Muriel Baxter Off-Leash Dog Park’.