Walnut Grove hosts new off-leash dog park

On Oct. 13, the Madison Parks Department officially opened the Walnut Grove Dog Park for public use at 202 North Westfield Road.

Though seven other off-leash dog parks already existed, the location of this park made it stand out.

“We chose this location because it serves an area of the city that was previously lacking off-leash dog parks,” said Dawn Grosdidier, the community services manager of the Madison Parks Department.

The Walnut Grove Homes Association also emphasized the importance of this location for the communities in this area.

“Rather than have to walk or drive a distance to access another dog park, folks from all over now have an opportunity to use a city-run facility within a reasonable commute,” said Eric Lewandowski, president of the Walnut Grove Homes Association. “For this reason, it reflects time, cost and environmental savings, and, hopefully, value added to the properties in the area.”

Beyond these potential benefits, the communities themselves were able to play a large role in the decision.

“The Parks Division openly solicited comments at public meetings and through a survey circulated across the city, with particular response sought from homeowners, renters and other residents from the west side,” said Lewandowski.

Indeed, giving community members a voice plays a huge role for the Parks Department.  

“We take a lot of value in community input in all of our projects,” Grosdidier said. “We involve the community through input forums and processes in order to design, in this case, the dog park.”

This is especially important since, even though it shares its name with the Walnut Grove neighborhood, the park is intended for broader use.

“[The park] is city land open to everyone,” said Lewandowski. “Residents in the adjoining Walnut Grove development, as well as in nearby Sauk Creek, Tamarack, Wexford and other neighborhoods, were very much involved in providing input about the dog park.”

Permits to the dog park are available for purchase to any dog owner with a valid dog license.