The Pacific Dog Park is beginning to come into its own with attention from several directions.

The fenced dog exercise park is located south of the tennis courts in the city park.

Dylan Patton, the Boy Scout who developed and built the park as an Eagle Scout project, is working with the park board to plan a grand opening ceremony Saturday, May 18.

Park Board President Stephen Flannery III said while the park has been well received — attracting owners and dogs daily — many citizens may not know it is there and the board hopes to attract a large number of citizens to the opening ceremony to view it.

“It’s a great asset to our parks and our community,” Flannery said.

At the same time, some aldermen want the city to add improvements to the new facility.

Alderman Mike Pigg, a local pet store owner and pet advocate, told fellow aldermen that dogs need more than a fenced area to run. They need water, when they are exercising, and some shade.

“I’d personally like to see a pavilion down there,” Pigg said.

Speaking at the April board meeting, Pigg said there is room between the tennis courts and the dog park for a pavilion similar to the one built in Liberty Field.

At the very least, a picnic table with an umbrella would offer pet owners and pets some shade, he said.

More important than shade, Pigg said, is water.

“There should be water closer to the park,” he said. “I take water when I take my dog out, but some owners might not bring water to the park closest to home. Water should be there.”

Pigg said he would like to see a fountain, similar to the one south of the pavilion, with a spigot at the bottom where pet owners could fill containers for pets.

“Water is an easy one,” Mayor Herb Adams said. “Water installation would come out of the water department budget and we have a healthy surplus there. All Stephen (Flannery) has to do is to keep reminding us to work on this.”

Grant Program

It’s a long shot, but the Pacific Dog Park has been entered in the PetSmart Bark for Your Park grant program.

“We’re considering doing this as a way of maybe improving our park,” Flannery said.

For the third year in a row, PetSafe, a Knoxville, Tenn., pet products manufacturer is hosting its Bark for Your Park online contest.

The community with the most online votes will win $100,000. Three smaller communities with the highest percentage of votes to the population will each receive $25,000.

As of Friday, May 3, Pacific had 31 votes.

To vote, visit Votes must be cast between May 1 to May 31.

Finalists will be announced in June and will be invited to send a video describing their dog park or improvements.