Ocean City’s Expanded Dog Park Officially Open

Ocean City’s Expanded Dog Park Officially Open
Officials are pictured cutting the ribbon on the new and improved dog park off 94th Street in Ocean City. Photo by Shawn Soper

OCEAN CITY — The recently expanded and upgraded dog park at 94th Street officially opened this week with a dedication and ribbon-cutting on Wednesday morning.

Almost 13 years to the day since the modest dog park at 94th Street as part of the larger Little Salisbury Park complex was dedicated, resort officials on Wednesday cut the ribbon on the expanded facility. The modest pet playground that has existed on the site since 2008 has been expanded and upgraded into a modern dog park with many amenities thanks to a concerted team effort involving many of the town’s departments.

Ocean City Recreation and Parks officials and elected officials cut the ribbon on the newly-expanded dog park on Wednesday morning. Over a decade ago, the Mayor and Council approved the construction of a municipal dog park at 94th Street due to mounting demand from the town’s year-round residents and visitors for a leash-free playground for pets.

The initial facility included a pet-friendly fenced area for dogs to roam, but was rather small and limited because it was part of a larger stormwater retention area for the old Ocean Plaza Mall nearby. In 2019, the town’s recreation and parks and public works departments collaborated on an in-house expansion project, regrading the site with fill dirt and rip-rap to stabilize the site.

In 2020, the town’s recreation and parks department applied for and later received a Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant of over $108,000 through the Community Parks and Playgrounds program to continue to expand and upgrade the dog park at 94th Street. The new facility now includes a vast fenced-in area with natural and artificial grass, a sheltered pavilion area, a dog pool, agility structures and other amenities. Councilman and Recreation and Parks Committee chair John Gehrig said the evolution of the dog park took a long time and praised Recreation and Parks Director Susan Petito for her leadership in making it a reality.

“This is a big day,” he said. “It was a true team effort and I’m proud of our team for making this a reality. The leader of the team was Susan Petito. She beat the drum and made this happen.”

Gehrig said amenities such as the new dog park were an important part of the overall fabric of the resort area.

“I want to talk about the importance of recreation and parks to our community,” he said. “We have some of the best parks and aesthetics in Maryland. This is a place where we can play, recreate and meet new friends. This dog park is a long time coming. It’s a big deal.”

Mayor Rick Meehan praised the many departments and components for making the dog park a reality.

“They’ve been working on this for quite a while and they did a fabulous job,” he said. “This is a necessary part of our community. It truly looks like a dog park today and it’s been a long time coming.”

Dogs must be registered to utilize the new facility and can be obtained at the recreation and parks complex at Northside Park. Proof of rabies and other inoculations must be provided. Pet owners will be provided with a mag-strip pass to access the dog park. A one-day pass is $10, a three-day pass is $20, and a seven-day pass is $25. Local residents can get a year-round pass to the dog park for $50, while non-residents can obtain a year-round pass for $100.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.