Now run, chase balls, and stay safe

The dogs will have their day, the dogs will have their play. Now they'll have a proper place just for them.

  • Mar. 18, 2016 7:00 a.m.
The new gates at the Muriel Baxter dog park has separate entrances for big dogs and little dogs.

The new gates at the Muriel Baxter dog park has separate entrances for big dogs and little dogs.

Barry Coulter

The dogs will have their day, the dogs will have their play. Now they’ll have a proper place just for them.

The much anticipated off-leash dog park on the grounds of the former Muriel Baxter School is almost complete. JRJ Fencing of Cranbrook, operated by Jana and Roger Jacobsen, has mostly finished fencing in the area with the canine world in mind. It remains for the City of Cranbrook to install such amenities and signage as will make the field off  2nd Street South and Victoria Avenue ideal for running, romping, rolling and chasing balls.

Muriel Baxter field already sees heavy four-footed traffic, and dogs and their owners are welcome to come down and try it out, not that they haven’t been already.

“You’d be amazed how many people come and bring their dogs during the day, throwing balls, etc,” Jana Jacobsen said.

“It’s been a steady flow in and out of there when we’ve been working.”

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 gates and park are designed for both little dogs and big dogs.

“The field has been the unofficial doggy area for a while now, but this will allow for safe usage, especially for the little dogs,” Jacobsen said. “They can go into that smaller area and not worry about being run over.

“And the double doors are designed that that if your dog is loose, playing ball, and someone comes and opens that first gate, your dog doesn’t get out,” she said.

The City is going to provide water by the entrances by the old school parking lot, so that in the heat of the summer there will be some spigots and watering bowls. And everybody can go through past the garbage cans, contributing to keeping it clean.

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. Jacobsen said the initial design and construction has been in the works for more than a year. It was been a true group effort as well, from getting the agreement between the City and the School board to use the land, to determining who’s going to look after it, and taking into account liability issues, property ownership, all those technical details.

“Chris New [City of Cranbrook Leisure Services Director] and the group have worked really hard to make it work for everybody and get actual access to this property.”

Jacobsen added that valuable input was contributed by the doggy owners themselves, members of the Cranbrook Kennel Club.

“When we first started talking I gave my ideas, they said talk to the dog people in the town. They’re the ones who’ve been around, they go elsewhere with their dogs, they see what is out there.”