LEAGUE CITY

April Goodwin just briefly lost sight of her dog as he ran free among hundreds of others in the newly opened League City “Bark Park.”

It didn’t take too long to find him.

Goodwin laughed when she spotted her dog Bentley, a Labrador retriever, who was inching up on another dog in a foot race.

“I would say it’s going well,” Goodwin said.

The dog park opened Sunday to much fanfare, after years of community members pushing for the idea. The League City council in February approved creating the dog park with $150,000 already set aside in the 2017 city budget.

A dog park is where people are allowed to bring their dogs and let them play with other dogs in a fenced area. Amenities can include obstacle courses and watering stations. Like other parks, dog parks are maintained on a regular schedule.

The designated space, adjacent to Lynn Gripon Park at Countryside, on 100 Alderwood, maps out at 3.5 acres, League City Convention & Visitors Bureau Administrator Bryan Roller said. The park is fenced off in two sections — one for small dogs and one for big dogs — and features amenities such as tunnels, agility stations for dogs, water fountains, fire hydrants and benches.

The League City Dog Park Association, founded in August, raised money for the amenities. Sandra Kelly, the president of the association, said she and her daughter Mel Kelly had been hoping for years to see such a park in their city.

“It’s the culmination of a dream,” Kelly said. “There are no words to describe how elated we are.”

Residents showed up en masse Sunday, and the line to enter the park counted more than a 100 an hour after it opened.

Lania Alfaro, a League City resident, attended the grand opening with her Siberian husky, Luna. She previously had to drive farther to take her dog to a park, she said.

“It’s something we’ve been really excited for,” Alfaro said. “For her to run around and be free, it’s just something I do for her.”

League City resident Olivia Foreman said she could tell her dog was enjoying the new space.

“I don’t think I’ve seen him this happy,” Foreman said.

The park has been a long time coming, Position 7 Councilman Nick Long said.

“I think this is a really great example of what happens when citizens get involved and start leveraging the resources that the city has to produce something that’s totally unique,” Long said.

Mel Kelly, the secretary of the League City Dog Park Association, used to go to Pasadena to take her dog to the park. That probably won’t happen anymore, she said.

“We wanted something that our city could take pride in,” Kelly said. “I’m kind of between wanting to burst out in tears or burst out in laughter because I can’t believe we got it done.”

Samantha Ketterer: 409-683-5241; samantha.ketterer@galvnews.com or on Twitter at @sam_kett

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