Athenians welcome newly renovated Memorial Park dog park | Arts & Culture

Athenians welcome newly renovated Memorial Park dog park | Arts & Culture

Memorial Park dog park reopened Tuesday, July 9, after renovations were completed to replace a century-old sewer line, according to a news release. Memorial Park is located in the Five Points neighborhood at 293 Gran Ellen Drive.

Many Athenians took advantage of the dog park’s reopening, including dog owner and University of Georgia associate professor of linguistics Vera Lee-Schoenfeld. Lee-Schoenfeld owns a dog named Penny, whom her family adopted from the Athens Humane Society when Penny was two months old.

“Since (the park closed) we’ve always walked by to see if it was opening or about to open, and now we’re happy that it’s open,” Lee-Schoenfeld said.

During the renovation, amenities such as improved fencing with entrances and exits, new water foundations, shaded benches, and new concrete paths with improved accessibility were added to the park.

Dog owner and UGA graduate James Dornbush said he and his wife, UGA graduate Katherine Dornbush, moved to the Five Points neighborhood and have been anticipating the park’s reopening ever since. James and Katherine Dornbush own Peach and George, two energetic “bordoodles,” a mix of border collie and standard poodle.

“We have friends who live in apartments and don’t even have a dog park or anything,” James Dornbush said. “It’s about giving people places to bring their dogs and … places for the dogs to let off some energy. It’s (also) a really important place for socialization.”

The Dornbushes said they are currently “focused on socializing the puppies” and that the new park will help them with that.

“It’s nice to have a dog park where (Peach) can immediately meet other dogs and it’s a little busier,” Katherine Dornbush said.

Lee-Schoenfeld’s son, Dominik Lee, said he also appreciates the social aspect of dog parks like Memorial Park, not just for the dogs but for the people as well.

“It’s good that the community has the opportunity to come together over things like dogs because I feel like dog owners can really interact with their dogs,” Lee said.

While the dog park at Memorial Park was being renovated, Katherine Dornbush frequently visited Wiggley Field Dog Park, which is about a 15-minute drive from Memorial Park. Now that the park is open again, she is happy to have a dog park close to her home.

“Being part of the Five Points community, it’s really easy to get here and it’s really nice to have a big dog park in the backyard,” said Katherine Dornbush.

The dog park is currently open from 8:00 a.m. to sunset daily with some exceptions. Currently, the park does not open until noon on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays due to lawn maintenance.