The ribbon was recently cut at the Ferguson Dog Park, 4300 N. Stone Mill Rd on the city’s northside.

The park has been home to the city’s tree nursery since 2003. The addition of a new entrance, parking area, and fenced enclosure added a dog park to the 19-acre park.

A generous donation of more than 19 acres of land and $50,000 for a dog park by Steve and Connie Ferguson to the Bloomington Parks Foundation allowed for the building of a portion of the planned dog park. The first phase of the dog park construction includes a three-acre dog play area enclosed with a five-foot galvanized chain link fence, gravel parking area, drinking fountain, dog waste bag stations and receptacles and rain gardens around the parking lot to help filter dog waste and prevent it from entering nearby Griffy Creek, as well as a handsome stone sign donated by the Fergusons.

The city entered a contest in June in an attempt to win the funds needed to build the entire dog park. Although Bloomington was named a finalist–one of the top 15 vote-getters in the country–in the PetSafe Bark for Your Park online voting contest, the community did not collect enough votes to be named the winner. The city did win from PetSafe a complete set of dog agility equipment, including weave poles, jumps, and tunnels, for use during special events in the new dog park.

“We’ve heard from Bloomington dog owners that they would like a safe place to play with their dogs, and where the dogs can play off-leash,” said Mick Renneisen, director of the Parks and Recreation department. “We’re able to build at least a portion of the dog park we’ve had planned, thanks to Steve and Connie Ferguson’s generous donations of funding and land.”

Karin St. John, executive director of the Bloomington Parks Foundation, said that organization has the highest regard and gratitude for the Fergusons, and looks forward to helping establish a quality facility. “The Parks Foundation is looking forward to fundraising for the additional amenities to the Ferguson Dog Park,” St. John said.

Construction of the dog park at Ferguson Park was accelerated when the city received a federal grant to pay for needed repairs of the Griffy Lake dam. The popular, unofficial dog park area below the dam is closed while the dam repairs take place.