By David Sturm, email@example.com
3:20 PM EDT, April 26, 2012
Lois Lorenz is thrilled at the prospect of a fenced-in dog-romping field at Honeygo Run Regional Park.
But the real benefit will be to Lorenz's dogs, Pixie and Daisy.
"They love to play with other dogs," she said.
Lorenz, who lives in White Marsh, sometimes drives to Harford County to let her dogs run free in a dog park.
But, she said, she can't let her two rescue dogs — a beagle named Pixie and a basset named Daisy — off the leash outside an enclosure.
"They pick up a scent and off they go," she said.
By next year, Pixie and Daisy won't have to go so far for a leash-free experience.
County Councilman David Marks recently announced that the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks had greenlighted a dog park at Honeygo Run in Perry Hall.
The 1-acre site is an open field on the eastern edge of the park that has already been used as an unofficial playing field for dogs for several years.
"This will be a great new resource for the Perry Hall and Kingsville communities," said Marks, who represents Perry Hall and Towson.
The new site for canine capers, which will be called the Perry Paw Family Dog Park, will be the third dog park in the county. The other two are at Hannah More Park, in Reisterstown, and Robert E. Lee Park, in north Baltimore/Towson area.
Marks, the former president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association, said a dog park serving Perry Hall and White Marsh has been under discussion for at least five years. He said a dog park committee organized by the PHIA was unanimous that it be at Honeygo Run.
Obstacles to overcome
The obstacles to be overcome are cost — county funds are not available — and parking.
A total of $5,000 already has been raised from a single donor, Brightview Senior Living, which is developing a branch residential facility in Perry Hall.
The next fundraiser will be a dunk tank at Family Fun Day at The Avenue at White Marsh on Saturday, May 19, hosted by the mall. Among the volunteer dunkees will be Marks and Lynn Richardson, president of the Perry Hall/White Marsh Business Association.
Another fundraiser is a bull roast June 10 at Chapel Hill Nursery in Perry Hall. Tickets are $30 and available at the nursery.
Marks said $10,000, most of which will go to fencing, should launch the park. Plans are for it to open some time between the end of this year and next spring.
As to parking, the dog park committee and county recreation and parks officials negotiated a compromise.
At times, Honeygo Run gets crowded. The 150-acre park includes two ball diamonds, three athletic fields, a 13,000-square-foot indoor recreation center, a roller hockey court, picnic pavilions and an extensive trail system.
The compromise on parking is that when major recreation events such as sports tournaments are scheduled, the dog park will be closed. The Perry Hall and White Marsh recreation councils will make the call to close the dog park.
At times the dog park is closed, the gate, operated by card reader system, will not open. Each dog park member will be issued a card to operate the gate, which will not only track the level of usage but provide a measure of security by showing which members were in the park if trouble breaks out.
Dog park members will be expected to live up to the dog park rules of etiquette (see sidebar).
Tammy Zaluzney, of Overlea, head of the PHIA dog park committee, said a Facebook page the committee set up in April 2011 about a dog park to serve Perry Hall built momentum. The page, which provides updates on the project, is at http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/PerryHallDogPark.
"In four days, we gained over 100 members. Now, it's about 250," she said. "Social media can change the landscape of an entire country, much less a dog park."
Zaluzney said the field at Honeygo Run is all but perfect.
"It doesn't need grading. It basically just needs a fence around it," she said. "A lot of folks are waiting for that fence to go up. ... But it won't happen overnight. If I had a magic wand, I would wave it."
She said there are still issues to be resolved, such as whether to put a limit on the number of dogs that can be in the park at one time. She said she expects the tracking information from the automatic gate will be a guide after the park is open.
Ironically, Zaluzney, who has three dogs, won't be using the dog park, at least not yet. Her dogs are too old to share space with frisky canines.
"They are a little selective of their friends," she said.
"But I know I will always have dogs and I hope in the future I will have a dog to take," she added.