After years of hounding, and sometimes begging, Columbia dog owners have the park they've been waiting for as the Columbia Association DogPark opened its gates for the first time this past weekend.
The 2.7-acre DogPark, which is at 5901 Rivendell Lane in Columbia's Village of Harper's Choice, opened May 24 to about 100 patrons and their four-legged companions.
Sean Harbaugh, the Columbia Association's assistant division director of Open Space, declared the park a hit.
"This was a great reception from the local community," Harbaugh said. "We were really excited to see all different types of dogs that came out."
Harbaugh said the DogPark had 55 households pre-register for annual memberships and that an additional 31 memberships were generated on Saturday. Annual memberships are $35 for residents and $40 for non-residents.
Harbaugh said the Columbia Association also sold 47 day passes, which cost $5 for residents and $6 for non-residents. To register, handlers need to fill out an application and liability waiver form and need to provide a copy of a current dog license and rabies certification.
The DogPark has two enclosures. One is for small dogs, under 25 pounds, and is less than an acre. The other area is 2 acres and is for larger dogs, although Harbaugh said it accommodates the occasional "small dog with a big personality."
Harbaugh said the facility is open from sunup to sundown, seven days a week, except for Thursday mornings, when it will be closed for maintenance.
The DogPark has been a long time coming for Columbia. The idea was approved in summer 2012 and was scheduled to open in summer 2013. However, issues with the site and funding -- an additional $55,000 was needed to build it -- delayed it for almost a year.
The only other dog park in Howard County is at Worthington Park in Ellicott City.
"Everyone was really excited for it to open this year," Harbaugh said.
He added that the DogPark was something that fits with the services the Columbia Association offers.
"It's your traditional park amenity," he said. "It is in line with the types of amenities and program services we provide to our community."