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Fairfield will get its first dog park that is years in the making

Fairfield leaders and residents celebrated on Saturday as they broke ground on the city’s first dog park, a project that has been decades in the making.

“We’ve been talking about this for over 15 years, and this is the No. 1 thing people wanted to see for probably for the last 20,” said Mayor Steve Miller. “So (Saturday), we finally break ground on the new dog park, and I for one couldn’t be happier. This is a great moment.”

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The city of Fairfield broke ground Saturday morning, Oct. 6, 2018, on its new dog park on River Road, just south of Marsh Park, on a 6.5-acre parcel. Pictured are Fairfield City Manager Mark Wendling, left, and Fairfield Law Director John Clemmons posing for a promotional Instagram cutout promoting the dog park. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF (Staff Writer)

The dog park is set to open in the summer of 2019 at 6611 River Road, which is between Lake Circle Drive and Gray Road and adjacent to Martin Marietta’s quarry lake. Fairfield purchased the land from the gravel-mining company Martin Marietta with a Clean Ohio Grant from the state.

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It will sit on 6.5 acres along the Great Miami River, and the area will also serve as a trailhead for the proposed extension of the Great Miami River Trail. The park will include an 800-square-foot pond with a dock and zero-entry edge, multiple fields with a separate small dog play area, shaded gathering spaces and parking. City officials estimate it will take about seven months to complete.

Pets have become a cherished part of the American family, said Fairfield Parks and Recreation Director Tiphanie Howard. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. households own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. There are 89.7 million pets in 60.2 million households in the U.S., according to the association.

The city of Fairfield broke ground Saturday morning, Oct. 6, 2018, on its new dog park on River Road, just south of Marsh Park, on a 6.5-acre parcel. Pictured is Fairfield Parks Board chair Doug Meece, center, speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony. Also pictured are city engineer Ben Mann and Parks board member and Fairfield School Board member Carrie O’Neal. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF (Staff Writer)

“More pet owners are embracing their dogs as a member of the household,” she said. “The community called for a public open space where they could spend time with the entire family, including Fido.”

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Fairfield Parks Board chairman Doug Meece said Saturday was exciting as the project “has been on the city’s project list for a number of years.”

“We’ve looked at several viable options, and there were always major drawbacks,” he said. “We think we found an ideal location here and we really can make a park the city’s going to be proud of. It’s really going to be a great amenity for our residents.”

The dog park will be the latest addition to the city’s portfolio of park properties — both passive and active — which include Huffman Park, Point Pleasant Park, Harbin Park and Marsh Park.

“We’ve got so many great parks here with so many great activities, but it’s really awesome we can add something new and something different,” Meece said. “We continue to add different things and give different recreation opportunities for our citizens, so it’s just very, very exciting.”

The city of Fairfield broke ground Saturday morning, Oct. 6, 2018, on its new dog park on River Road, just south of Marsh Park, on a 6.5-acre parcel. Pictured is Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller, center, speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony. Also pictured is Fairfield Vice Mayor Craig Keller, right. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF (Staff Writer)

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