Pooch park: New playground for hounds opens at noon today in Alpena

ALPENA — After more than two years of fundraising, planning and construction, the new dog park at North Riverside Park in Alpena will be opening today at noon.

The project was made possible when a pair of individuals approached the City of Alpena with the idea and, by working together, they made the park a reality.

City Engineer Rich Sullenger said the park is finally ready to go. He said it took a little longer than anticipated to get it built and opened because, when the boardwalk at the park unexpectedly collapsed, repairing that took priority.

Now the hard work and patience of the community has paid off and dogs will be able to enjoy their new playground, as long as a few simple rules are followed.

“We ask that the dogs be licensed and vaccinated,” Sullenger said. “We don’t have any established hours for it, but we want people to respect it and take care of it.”

Sullenger said there is still a little work to be done: four benches still need to be installed and will be soon. He said there are also trees planted at the park to provide shade, as well as a source of water for the dogs or their owners.

Sullenger said that, in order for the park to be a good experience for everyone who uses it, people need to clean up after their pets. He said there are bag dispensers at the park so any messes can be cleaned up.

“If people aren’t picking up after their dogs, things could get ugly real quick down there and it won’t be a good, or healthy, experience for people or their dogs,” he said. “If we want to keep it nice and usable, we are counting on people to help us by keeping it clean.”

Although the park will be open today, an official grand opening will be forthcoming. Sullenger said a private donation of $25,000 to name the park was accepted by the city and a portion of the money will be used for future additions and upgrades.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or 989-358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.