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Derry to celebrate opening of dog park Friday

October 2, 2018
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Pets and an owner try out the new dog park at Derry Borough’s community park shortly after its opening in August 2018.

Derry Borough on Friday will celebrate the official opening of a new dog park at the town’s community park off Clifton Street.

Area residents and their dogs are invited to attend the 6 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, with treat bags distributed to the first 20 canines that arrive.

The park, which features separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, opened last month after a two-year effort to complete the first of three planned phases of park improvements.

The borough leases the community park from Derry Area School District, which once used the site as its high school football stadium. Facilities had deteriorated over the years and attendance at the community park was down.

“We’ve made a miraculous jump from where it was,” borough council Vice President Al Checca said of the park. “Feedback has been very favorable.

“We now have neighbors going to the dog park and meeting other neighbors. It’s a fantastic community gathering place.”

The dog park has dual water fountains that can be used by pets and people and a station at each of three entrances where owners can obtain bags for cleaning up after their pets.

“We have a lot of shade trees,” Checca added. “A lot of other dog parks are open fields.”

Other initial park upgrades included removing eyesore pylons that once supported stadium bleachers, replacing three outdated pavilions, revamping a walking path and resurfacing and installing new backboard and hoops at the park’s basketball court.

A tennis court that saw little use was transformed into a 32-space parking lot.

The nonprofit Derry Area Revitalization Corp. provided a local funding match for a $230,000 state grant the borough obtained for the initial park improvements, Checca said.

Additional work the borough hopes to complete includes retrofitting park restrooms to make them comply with handicapped accessibility standards, updating a fourth pavilion and installing a playground, he said.

The community park is open from 9 a.m. to dusk. Bikes, skateboards, roller blades and scooters are prohibited.

Pets using the dog park must display a current license, vaccination tag and ID tag and must be under the control of an adult, with a limit of two dogs per owner. Dogs must be on a 6-foot leash when entering and exiting the park and must be removed at the first sign of aggression.

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