Why don’t we have a downtown dog park?

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When Canine Corner in Cleveland Park closed, the city opted to build a new dog park at Conestee due to its size and natural conditions. Photo by Will Crooks.

As the influx of apartments and mixed-use developments continues downtown, many residents may be wondering about the absence of a specific amenity in the city’s center: a dog park.

Cleveland Park was once home to Canine Corner, which closed in fall 2014 when the Conestee Park dog park opened. The decision to shut down Canine Corner was met with protest from many of the park’s regular visitors, who pleaded with City Council to keep it open.

“While it was not an easy decision to close the Cleveland Park dog park, there were a number of reasons for having done so,” said Edward Kinney, senior landscape architect of the city’s parks and recreation department.

Among other flaws, Canine Corner was less than an acre in size, lacked separate sections for large and small dogs, and had corner traps in fencing that can lead to confrontations between dogs. All of those design elements go against best practices for dog parks, Kinney explained. Additionally, Canine Corner’s close proximity to the Reedy River was detrimental to the river’s water quality.

“The original park was designed and constructed by a Leadership Greenville class some eight to 10 years ago, I’d guess,” Kinney said. “As I understand it, the project was not properly vetted through the public process and the neighborhood was never really accepting of it.”

Canine Corner was often a point of frustration for area residents. The city frequently received complaints about noise issues, traffic congestion on Woodland Way, and visitors illegally parking in neighborhoods due to limited parking spots.

Unfortunately for downtown residents, it doesn’t look like a replacement for Canine Corner will be planned anytime soon in the immediate area. The reason is quite simple: a lack of space. “There isn’t much room,” Kinney said. “Best practices for dog parks require at least an acre of fenced-in space, and this has not been easy to find.”

When it was time to shut down Canine Corner, the city evaluated two options for a new dog park: the current location at Conestee Park and an area close to the downtown airport, which is about 3 miles from Cleveland Park. The Conestee location was chosen due to “topographical and water-quality issues” at the downtown site, Kinney said.

He acknowledged that the Conestee location, which is about 7 miles from Cleveland Park, “is not ideal for downtown users” but added that Conestee’s “size and natural conditions made it a great fit.”

Conestee Dog Park. Photo by Will Crooks

Puppy Parks — Where to Take Your Dog

Conestee Park | 840 Mauldin Road

Pavilion Recreation Complex | 400 Scottswood Road, Taylors

Pelham Mill Park | 2770 E. Phillips Road, Greer

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