At the grand opening of the Pierre Community Dog Park in Pierre, S.D., in April, the city’s canine residents snacked on dog treats, received a sprucing up at the Wash & Wag, and ran all over the park’s two-acre lot. Local media was on hand to film the tail-wagging festivities.
The Central South Dakota Board of REALTORS® partnered with the city of Pierre to construct the park, which is located on city property on Sully Avenue. CSDBR initiated the project and invited REALTORS® and members of the community to help plan and develop the park. The planning group looked at a number of potential locations, weighing factors like site size, proximity to residential property, availability of water, parking, shade, and restrooms.
Planning for the project began in 2019 when the City Commission approved the current two-acre location. However, this project, like much of the country, was hit with the realities of COVID-19 in 2020. In spite of the pandemic, a $2,500 grant was obtained from the South Dakota Department of Agriculture for the purchase of Ponderosa pine, Black Hills spruce, and Colorado green spruce trees. Twenty-nine total trees were purchased and installed by volunteers with assistance from the City Arbor Board, creating a buffer between the dog park and the private housing along East Sully Street in South East Pierre. The trees are watered weekly by park staff. When they are mature, the trees will serve as an additional habitat to wildlife that exist in this area of the City, primarily pheasants, turkeys and native birds.
CSDBR was awarded a $5,000 Placemaking Grant from the National Association of REALTORS® for the dog park, and the funds were used to help pay for fencing to surround the park. Additional funds for the $50,000 fencing were raised by REALTORS® through the “Who Let the Dogs In!” campaign. Giving levels included “Great Dane” ($5,000), “Golden Retriever” ($1,000), and “Labradoodle” ($100).
Located along the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Trail, the dog park is accessible by walking, biking, and by car. The trail begins just below the Missouri River Bridge and continues for five miles, taking riders and walkers through shade trees, river views, and wildlife. The Pierre Community Dog Park is situated about halfway along the five-mile route. The Pierre section of the trail includes access to the four-acre Pierre Native Plant Arboretum and Nature Track. The trail follows the Missouri River and is actively used by residents and visitors.
Future developments at the dog park will include additional amenities, and events, such as the Halloween 5-K dog run and other fun activities, will help to draw people and make it a vibrant public space.
CSDBR worked very closely in partnership with the city of Pierre to develop this project, including selecting the location, development of ideas, and funding-raising. Community residents are excited to have a really nice place to run dogs. The fencing between the small dog area and the large dog area is also being received really well. And further, CSDBR is viewed favorably by the community at large for making this project happen.
Dog parks have become a community asset in places across the country. CSDBR finds that people moving to the Pierre community expect this amenity to be provided by the city. CSDBR's partnership with city government means that both the REALTORS® and the city can proudly point to the Pierre Community Dog Park as both an asset for current residents, and an amenity for potential residents.