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Heritage Trail Dog Park Opens in Zionsville

Photographer / Mariah Krafft

dog parkOne thing that has become clear during the course of the pandemic is that our precious pets have helped to brighten our darkest days. Now, dog owners in Zionsville are getting a chance to return the favor by taking their pooches to the brand-new dog park that just opened at Heritage Trail Park.

Zionsville residents have long been voicing an interest in the creation of a dog park, and have reiterated that desire at town meetings and in both online and mailed surveys.

“Our community is really engaged and let us know what they want,” says Jarod Logsdon, Parks and Recreation Department superintendent. “The notion started gaining popularity and Mayor Styron pushed for it.”

Construction took place during 2020, and the Heritage Trail Dog Park officially opened on February 1.

“Zionsville is a very dog-friendly community, which is evident just by taking a walk on the rail trail. You’ll pass multiple dogs on that short commute on foot,” Logsdon says. “We want to embrace that and provide the infrastructure so people can have a safe place to recreate with their dogs and let them socialize.”

Before completion of the park, area residents had to travel to Lebanon or Carmel to take their canines to a dog park.

Open from dawn to dusk, this 3.5-acre park is divided in half to accommodate both large and small dogs. During the winter season, only half the park will be open. As things dry out in the spring, the department plans to open the second side.

“The rule of thumb at dog parks is that small dogs can come and play with big dogs, but big dogs can’t come play with small dogs,” Logsdon says.

Pups of all sizes will surely be thrilled to frolic in so much wide-open space, socialize freely and release their energy. The park will also have agility equipment, benches, pet waste stations, a water fountain with a dog bowl attachment, picnic shelters, and shaded areas to provide relief from the summer’s blistering sun.

There’s a leash law in town, which means that any dog out in public – even in parks with open spaces – are required to be on a leash.

“This dog park provides our four-legged friends the opportunity to just be a dog – to run around, sniff and not be restrained,” Logsdon says. “Personally, as a dog owner, that’s what I look for, that safe environment where they can just be a happy dog.”

Pups must be at least four months old and have received all required vaccinations. Find details for health requirements online through the town’s website.

For the first year of operation, membership (with a capacity of 300) is only open to Zionsville residents. Typically an annual membership for one dog is $100, which equates to about 27 cents per day, and $50 for each additional dog up to two more (limit three per household). For the 2021 season, however, the department is offering a discount – an annual membership for one dog will only cost $75.

Membership fees will go towards taking care of the security infrastructure, as well as maintenance to reseed the lawn as needed, and regularly fix the turf.

dog park“There is cumulative upkeep with a dog park that’s a little more labor-intensive than maintaining a playground,” Logsdon says.

Each membership is good for one year from the time of purchase. Members will receive a fob to grant them access through the security gate. Registration to become a member at the dog park is currently open and will remain open until 200 spots are filled. The department will open a second round of registration later in the year for another 100 members.

“We expect those 200 spots to fill up quickly,” Logsdon says. “I recommend purchasing your membership as soon as possible.”

Logsdon looks forward to what the dog park will bring in the future, in terms of increased dog-centric opportunities and programs both at the dog park and around other parks.

“I think the pandemic overwhelmingly outlined how important mental health, fitness, and connection with nature are,” Logsdon says. “People instinctively went to those things when they couldn’t participate in other activities. I think that’s forever going to be ingrained in us now, and as a result, I think there’s going to be a renewed appreciation for our Parks and Rec opportunities.”

He promises that the town leaders are committed to building on that mindset, so that when it’s safe to gather again in larger numbers, they’ll be ready, with a plan in place.

The Heritage Trail Dog Park is located at 4050 South 875 East in Zionsville. For more information or to purchase a membership pass, call 317-733-2273, or visit zionsville-in.gov and click on the “Community” tab.

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