Dog Park in Harrisonburg?

Thanh -- May 6th, 2009

There’s a new website/blog  for people in Harrisonburg who want a dog park in the City, Created by Justyn Sider, a resident of Harrisonburg and owner of Tucker – a yellow lab – the website currently features information about his interest in dog parks, general information on dog parks, and a petition for people to sign and show support for a dog park in Harrisonburg.

Justyn has inquired with the City’s Parks & Recreation Department and he found out that they “have already considered dog parks and are interested in having them as soon as people show support in an organized way.” And Justyn is working to do just that with anyone who is interested to help. He is working now to form a Board that represents the dog park to find others who are interested and to get the dog park started.

He has spoken with a number of people in his neighborhood and he says that they are currently interested in seeing a dog park at a city park like Waterman or Hillandale. And says, “I want the parks to be [in] walking distance to most of the users. So far I have heard the most feedback from people in that area, but if there is more support in other areas of the city then we can focus on other existing parks.”

Dog parks generally have a set of rules/etiquette for users to follow to maintain a safe and enjoyable space for everyone. Dogs have the opportunity to run around off leash and play with other dogs, while their owners have an opportunity to socialize with other dog owners and know that their dog is getting the exercise it needs.

Justyn and other dog park supporters can be contacted at HappydogsHburg [at] gmail [dot ]com and the petition can be signed here.

18 Responses to “Dog Park in Harrisonburg?”

  1. Thanh says:

    Here is a link to pictures that I took at a dog park in Herndon. I should have taken more pictures of the play area instead of all of the set up details. It was a big play area with agility equipment and lots of room for running.

    Here are pictures from the same park’s community website.

  2. Chris says:

    How about a partnership with the SPCA on their unused land? Smithland Road soccer fields, Ramblewood baseball fields and Purcell Park have all additional land too. They may not in walking distance to most, but ample parking would be available.
    For those closer in maybe the Ralph Sampson Park / Sims School area.

  3. Renee says:

    My ‘vision’ for what to do with the Heritage Oaks Golf Course space if they reduced course to 9 holes & converted to community space includes a dog park – it could be connected to Hillandale :)

  4. Justyn says:

    It is great to see the support that we are getting from this article! If you support the idea please tell your friends to check it out too! That’s how this needs to build momentum if we want to make it happen. We all need to get involved just a little by something like making it a point to tell ten other friends about it. Or do a quick email to all your friends with the link in it. Thanks everyone, oh and let us know if you want to be on the board, it won’t take a lot of your time, promise!


  5. Emo Boy says:

    How about we don’t spend any tax money on a dog park. I don’t think the City has an overflowing bank account. There are plenty of things the City can spend money and man power on other than this.

  6. Let’s turn JMU into a dog park

  7. Jamie Smith says:

    Maybe they could combine the dog park with a chicken yard and make two constituencies happy!
    And, Renee, leave the golf course alone. All “Friendly Cities” have a municipal golf course.

  8. charlie chenault says:

    The Rec Department has been researching the dog park matter and actually has draft plans for it. We had a presentation on the park at a rec commission meeting in 2008 I think. The preferred site was at Smithland Road. It would be appropriate to catch up with the commission at its next meeting to get an update on this. I know this may involve budgetary issues at this time, but dog park costs are not astronomical and the demand for one exists.
    Thanks – Charlie

  9. Emo Boy says:

    Charlie, I’m see your comment that the cost of a dog park is not astronomical but there are many costs that will not end. Mowing, fence upkeep, doggie poo bags just to name a few. This is one of the problems I see with the City Council, they think each pet project (no pun intended) many not seem like a lot of money at the time, but once all are added up it is a lot of money. I’m getting ready to sent the City my bi-yearly real estate tax check of $950.00, spend it well please.

  10. Justyn says:

    Thank you all for your comments keep them coming, we want to get as much feedback on all sides of the issue.

    Chris, I spoke with some folks at the SPCA and they really support the idea of a dog park. Also Parks and rec had plans for a future park around Smithland Road. The issue with those areas is most everyone in the city would have to drive there dog to the park. I think we want to look closer in town first, and if it does not look like that will work, then those areas would be a great place to think about.

    Renee, I would really like to hear more about you “vision” if you want to shoot me an email and expand on your idea! At the same time I have some friends that really like wailing on a little white ball every so often:) so we will have to make sure to work with them.

    Emo Boy, I agree with you! There are many other things the city can work on with the tight budget they have at the moment. Like Charlie said ” dog park costs are not astronomical” so I want to, yes, work with the city on this but also individuals will need to contribute as well.

    Jennifer Ellington, funny you say that! although we may not be able to turn all of JMU into a dog park, we are contacting them to see if they have any land that they would consider using for community purposes.

    Jamie Smith, hmm yes interesting idea. With that idea I believe one constituency would be happier then the other. The dogs would get lots of exercise chasing the chickens, and exercise is good. But the chickens on the other hand, well…..I don’t know if they would get much exercise.

    charlie chenault, I would really like to hear more about the work you have done in the past regarding dog parks. I spoke with Lee Forester yesterday and he talked a little bit about this. Could you email me and maybe we could set up a time for a call?

    Thanks again everyone for your thoughts!


  11. Karen says:

    It’s a year later, still no dog park. Is anybody still working on this? At the dog swim last year there was alot of interset.

    • J Sider says:

      Hey Karen,

      Yea I started this, but then had to travel for work and passed it off to a group of folks. Honestly what its going to take is a leader to make it happen. I would be happy to introduce you to some of the people that have been talking about this if you want to get involved. Feel free to call or email,



      • Lindsay says:

        I seem to remember the dog park initiative being a bullet point in Kai’s campaign for Council, but maybe I’m mistaken.

  12. Vicky says:

    Just recently moved back to the area and searching for a dog park. What is the status of Harrisonburg’s “proposed” dog park?

  13. Willie says:

    I have TWO questions…1st, who is going to pay the $50,000 to make this project happen? Does this money come from the tax payers…tax payers that don’t own a dog??? Plus, try as I might I can’t figure out how you can have strange dogs running around together without getting into a dog fight. How do you plan to keep that from happening?

  14. carole sease says:

    Every other place I have lived has had a dog park. What wrong with Harrisonburg?

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