LAKE JACKSON — Tails were wagging this weekend as four-legged friends waited to enter the newest park in Lake Jackson.
After months of undesirable weather and environmental delays, the BASF Dog Park in Lake Jackson, located at 91 Lake Road, opened its gates to more than 100 dogs and owners Saturday.
In 2013, Alexia Finotello started a Facebook page called “Lake Jackson Dog Park,” advocating for a space for dogs to play in Lake Jackson.
“I moved here from Colorado where there’s lots of dog parks, and there wasn’t one here,” Finotello said. “We heard about it being on the docket for a lot of city project planning, so I started a Facebook group to communicate what we’re interested in.”
Her page grew quickly, and she said she then realized there were many other like-minded dog owners in the area.
“In three days we got over 500 likes (on Facebook), so to us we found a community very interested in getting a dog park,” Finotello said. “We started this so long ago, and now the park is real.”
Lake Jackson Parks and Recreation Director Jeremy Bubnick picked up the project in 2015 and saw it to completion.
“It’s amazing to be here today. We put in a lot of work into it, a lot of volunteers and sponsors,” Bubnick said.
Bubnick believes the park is more than a dog park; it is a space to meet new people as well.
“It’s more than a park just for dogs,” he said. “Many American families have a dog and this provides a safe space for the dogs to run off-leash and play with other dogs without the worry of getting hurt or hit by a car.”
A lot of time and research went into designing the park, Bubnick said.
“We visited other parks and met with other parks and recreation directors and asked them questions about their parks,” Bubnick said. “We wanted to do more than just a fenced area; we wanted to make a quality park.”
The park is divided between large and small dogs for safety, and includes features to keep residents’ dogs hydrated and cool.
“We decided on a splash pad for the dogs. We also wanted to make sure there was shade, walking paths and drinking fountains,” Bubnick said.
Chris Witte, senior vice president for Freeport BASF, helped encourage the company to make a large donation to the park.
“Cindy Suggs brought the idea to us and we decided to bring it to the foundation who agreed to donate. This was over two years ago,” Witte said. “We needed a place to allow the dogs off the leash and to socialize. I think the park will get a lot of utilization.”
Many residents were grateful for the gated space and newfound play opportunities.
“Before this, we didn’t have any place for our dogs to play,” dog owner Terry Doyal said. “Now they can get out and meet other dogs, and the park is beautiful. I’ve met so many people already today.”
Bubnick would like to inspire other cities to consider a dog park for communal benefits.
“Dog parks are actually the fastest-growing type of park in the country. They have just exploded with popularity in the last 10 years,” he said. “As a community, it’s definitely a need, and Lake Jackson is no different from that.”