The dog park is just part of a slew of improvements to Tualatin Community Park.
by: Alana Kansaku-Sarmiento Terri Minniti and Karen Link (from left) let Ginger off leash at the Tualatin Community dog park on Friday with Tualatin Community Services Director Paul Hennon. Ginger, the park’s very first canine patron during its quiet opening, will have more company during the grand opening on Aug. 13.

The Tualatin Community Park's dog park is officially open to the public, wrapping up six years and about $1 million of improvements to the park.

The dog park is located within the Community Park, just behind the Lower Tualatin Pump Station and picnic area. The off-leash area, more than half an acre in size, is fenced in and contains separate areas for larger and smaller dogs to frolic separately.

The dog park is just one piece of a slew of additions and improvements made to Tualatin Community Park since 2005, including new pathways and picnic areas, the Ki-a-Kuts pedestrian bridge and a sports field.

Washington County's Clean Water Services matched a federal grant to complete funding for the bridge, which cost a total of $3.2 million and kick-started the redevelopment process. Its completion was a product of the cooperative effort between Tualatin, Tigard and Durham to connect Tualatin Community Park, Durham City Park and Tigard's Cook Park, as well as the land owned by Clean Water Services. According to Project Manager Paul Hennon, the bridge was an answer to the dangers of pedestrians using the railroad tracks to cross the Tualatin River.

Funding for a majority of the improvements came from Clean Water Services in return for the right to house the lower Tualatin Pump Station on park grounds. The city of Tualatin also pitched in with $225,000 for a portion of the new pathway.

In the coming years, Friends of the Tualatin Dog Park say they will most likely raise money for more additions. Possibilities include a closer water source (the closest currently being at the nearby picnic area), shade, fun obstacles for the canines and more picnic tables.

An official grand opening will take place during the Crawfish Festival on Aug. 13 at 1:30 p.m.

Carol Gardner, creator of Zelda Wisdom, a line of whimsical greeting cards, calendars and more featuring bulldogs, will be on hand at the grand opening. Gardner is also the author of 'Princess Zelda and the Frog,' and will offer a signed copy of her book at the event, along with other raffle prizes.

Construction has been completed for the new sports field next to the dog park, but it will not be open for use until late fall or early spring in order to give the fields time to mature.

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