When Pineville opened its first dog park, no one had more fun at the event than Barkley, a 3-year-old goldendoodle owned by newcomers in town Ken and Jeanine Palmieri.
Barely containing his enthusiasm as he waited to enter the two-acre lot at Pineville Lake Park, Barkley burst through a narrow opening in the double gates and quickly made himself the life of the party on June 4. Or, shall we say paw-ty.
He ran with all sizes of dogs (whether they liked it or not), chased after tennis balls, and licked and sniffed at humans as if they were made of bacon. Barkley oozed joy, much like the name goldendoodle does.
“Dogs need a place to be free and run,” said Ken Palmieri. “They can’t do it at the park, they always have to be on a leash. Here is a great (couple) acres, that’s kind of nice. … Charlotte is pretty dog friendly.”
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Pineville developing its first dog park, carefully coined Canine Commons, was in response to a Town Parks and Recreation survey completed in 2013. The survey’s results listed a dog park as the residents’ No. 1 interest.
Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation has developed six dog parks in recent years. The closest to Pineville is at William R. Davie District Park on Pineville-Matthews Road, which is located in the department’s South region.
Other Mecklenburg dog parks are located at McAlpine Creek Park in the South region, Frazier Park in Central, and Shuffletown Park, Reedy Creek Park and Swaney Pointe K-9 Park at Ramsey Creek Park in Cornelius, which are all in the North region.
Davidson with The Preserve Dog Park is in Davidson and the Academy Street Park Mooresville. Some restaurants and bars also welcome dogs in outdoor environments.
“Dog parks are an important and popular recreational amenity here in Mecklenburg County,” said Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Director Jim Garges. “They provide a safe, spacious environment for residents to take their dogs for exercise and offer a wonderful social experience for dog owners as well.”
Palmieri says he has taken Barkley, the golden retriever/poodle combo breed he sometime refers to as Berzerkly because of its excitability, to those establishments. But nothing compares to wide open spaces.
Canine Commons also got a big endorsement from perhaps Pineville’s highest profile dog owner. Mayor Jack Edwards and his wife, Jyl, are the proud owners of two magnificent-looking tuxedo great danes. The Edwards used to have to take Maggie and Rambo, both 6 years old, to McAlpine and Davie Parks.
Canine Commons, which cost about $40,000 to develop, is located in a previously wooded area in the southeast corner of Lake Park’s 25 acres.
“Pineville, and Charlotte in general, has a huge amount of dogs,” said Wendy Hall, manager of Social Pet Hotel and Daycare in Pineville. “How interactive we’ve become with our dogs has really changed in the last five years. Dogs need a place to play. They need to go out and run around and socialize.”
Pineville Parks and Recreation director Kristy Detwiler says Canine Common’s rules are adopted from Mecklenburg County’s dog park guidelines.
For example, aggressive dogs are prohibited, the number of dogs per person is limited, and dog owners must clean up their dog’s doo-doo. Children must be at least 12 years old to enter the park.
Pineville funded Canine Commons by matching a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant awarded by N.C. State Parks, according to Detwiler. The grant totaled $361,000 and will include construction of a splash park at Pineville Lake Park that has a targeted completion date of summer 2018.
Canine Commons, which cost about $40,000 to develop, is located in a previously wooded area in the southeast corner of Lake Park’s 25 acres. It has running water to fill a dog bowl, clean-up accessories and park benches. Its rolling hills are grassy and well-shaded.
After all, no one relishes having a hot dog.
Joe Habina is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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