Crozet Dog Park opened in weirdly balmy weather Dec. 10 with a ribbon-cutting that culminated an impressive two-year campaign to have a safe romping ground for dogs in town. Now both big dogs and rather-not-so-big dogs have enclosed runs, each accessed by a small entryway pen.
There was a crowd of about 50 on hand for the grand opening, gathered in the east end of the parking lot at Crozet Park. Many had brought dogs. When it came time to talk into the microphone, Claudius Crozet Park Board President Kim Guenther immediately praised the good cooperation between the independent, community–owned park and Albemarle County’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“It’s truly a partnership project with the park, county Parks and Rec and the Crozet community,” she said. “The county donated the land and challenged the park to raise the money to build the park. We raised $23,000. The fences, the signs, the mulch are from that money.”
Guenther is due an ovation, too, for her indefatigable role in the accomplishment.
She singled out Starr Hill Brewery’s Red Light Fund for putting up a challenge grant. The Crozet brewery also hosted three Pints for Pups fundraiser days at its tasting room. Dogs came too. “We had a lot of fun on the patio,” Guenther recalled.
She also thanked Doody Calls, a local firm, for donating 25,000 bags for do-do cleanup.
County parks superintendent Matt Smith agreed that “This is an incredible example of a public/private partnership.” He noted that it’s the third dog park in the county. “We all love dogs,” he said. “This gives the community a chance to let their dogs mingle. Dog parks are places where the community actually gathers.” Acquaintances are struck among dog owners and social connections proliferate.
Note that dog park rules—and there are a few—forbid dogs in heat from being brought in, so the mingling is all platonic.
Smith praised county parks foreman Jim Barber for his work getting the dog park ready.
White Hall District Supervisor Ann Mallek said, “I thank you,” acknowledging the crowd who had turned out. “I brag on the Crozet community. How great is it that citizens see a need and step up and make it happen! And we kept the shade!”
Then Guenther had the microphone again. “These two men spent their last six months in the dog park,” she said, singling out Barber and Karl Pomeroy, a linchpin volunteer for the park for many years. Pomeroy also got a hug.
“It’s been fun. It’s been some work,” said Pomeroy. “It’s all for the community. Without Jim,” he said, redirecting the spotlight, “we wouldn’t have all the beautiful places we have and he does it with a smile.”
Barber and Pomeroy led the crowd beside the lower ball field and down the trail to the dog park, where only a wide red ribbon restrained the dogs who could see freedom offered on the inside the fence.
Snip. Down fluttered the silk. And the mingling commenced.