Something to bark about! New park in Ashland opens

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ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) — City officials in Ashland say throughout the pandemic, a lot of people went outside and rediscovered local parks.

Now, they say they are pushing to revamp some of their parks this year.

Thursday, they opened a place they’re calling ‘Central Bark.’

“We have, as a commission, decided that we were gonna focus on our parks this year. Our southside park was ripe for redevelopment and repurposing, so how fitting on a day of raining cats and dogs that we open a new dog park?” says Mayor Matt Perkins of Ashland, Kentucky.

This is opening day for this new dog park, now known as ‘Central Bark,’ however this particular area has quite the past as a recreational spot.

“This was originally known as the Southside Park, it was named after Wendell Banks. It was originally the pool – the Southside Pool – was turned over into a ballfield for awhile. There was some issues with using it as a ballfield. There was a lot of runoff from the hillside and we have so many other ballfields that it was, you know, a perfect opportunity to turn it around,” says Michelle Grubb, Public Information Officer for the City of Ashland.

Proof of this park’s past can be seen in things like the dugouts, which have been repurposed for people’s use.

While this ‘paw’some dog park is not the city’s first, city officials say it is currently the largest for the area’s furry friends.

“This is a much bigger park, about five acres, and we have space for small dogs, big dogs, so all of our pups in the community can come out here and enjoy,” Perkins says.

The mayor says they borrowed around $12 million dollars for ‘Quality of Life projects’ this year, and says this park costs taxpayers around $25,000 dollars.

“It was really a low cost, high return investment for our citizens. These are one of the few instances where government is actually improving the lives of the citizens. It’s their tax money, we think it’s a great use of their tax money,” Perkins says.

“People are excited, like I said. It was a softball field, it kinda would get noisy and what-not with the crowd and music and everything and balls everywhere, so I think it’ll be a good change,” says Traci Burns, who lives near ‘Central Bark.’

There’s more coming to this park in the spring according to Grubb—like bench swings, more picnic tables, and more entertainment for the pups.

It’s officially open, from dawn until dusk.

For more stories from Natalie Wadas, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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