Ocean City Dog Park Details Surface

OCEAN CITY – A proposed park aimed at keeping residents’
four-legged friends in shape and offering a place for their owners to share
their love of their furry companions continues to be developed as early plans
for a dog park were revealed this week.

At the Recreation and Parks Committee meeting Tuesday at
Northside Park, Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster presented fellow
members with a rough blueprint of the park along with some other information
currently being developed such as techniques planned to gain access as well as
a preview of some of the rules and regulations to be followed. The presentation
offered the members a chance to discuss some of the inner workings of the park.

The Ocean City Dog Enclosure, renamed from the Little
Salisbury Dog Enclosure during the meeting, is planned to inhabit a rectangular
plot of land along 94th Street just behind the existing tennis courts and
children’s playground.

Costing the town approximately $42,000, the park would be
used on a dusk till dawn basis, meaning usage would be limited to daylight
hours only. According to Shuster, who looked at other parks similar in nature
in neighboring cities, inside the proposed six-foot-gated enclosure would be
two different areas, one for little dogs weighing 28 pounds or less, and one
for larger dogs weighing more than 28 pounds.

Users with small dogs would not be required to use the
designated area for their smaller pups, but it would be available for owners who
are unsure of how their companions would react to fellow canines.

As proposed, users would enter through a gate where they
would find themselves in a small, gated area, Shuster said. Here is where the
entrances to the two separate areas would be located, each with an electronic
scanning device that would check an identification card to make sure the user
is registered and has paid their fees. As of now, there are two types of
registration. One is an annual fee aimed at local dog owners and the second would
be for weekly visitors and have a limit of seven or 10 days. How much the fees
would end up being will not be chosen until the project is closer to
completion, Shuster said.

The electronic scanning devices would also be on a timer,
restricting access during off-times. It would also be able to tell if users
have paid their annual fee or if their card has expired, also restricting their
entry if these requirements are not met. However, instead of having two
separate scanners, committee member Joe Mitrecic suggested Shuster amend the
plans to only have one at the initial entrance to reduce costs.

Shuster agreed with the idea and continued, saying once
access is granted, the dogs may then be unleashed and the owners are invited to
use a shelter or pavilion that would straddle the fence separating the two
sides, allowing owners to socialize with each other while supervising their
dogs. Benches and picnic tables would also be placed in different areas to
encourage social interaction among both owners and their pets.

Dogs have a tendency to get dirty when they play and
having an entire grass area to romp around in may make things even messier,
especially if the ground is damp. Photographs of other parks Shuster looked
into showed some using a pea gravel to fill in the enclosure, making cleanup
and maintenance easier and eliminating mud puddles and dirt patches altogether.
However, committee members decided to wait on the pea gravel to see how well
the park fares in its first year.

set of rules has been compiled as well, some of which include discouraging your
dog from digging holes, not allowing children under the age of 18 to enter
unless supervised by an adult, prohibiting any person from bringing more than
two dogs, mandating owners to clean up after their dogs and not allowing
aggressive dogs are just a few examples.