Ellisville Dog Park breaks ground in Bluebird Park
By: Carol Enright
Bluebird Park has finally gone to the dogs.
Exactly one year after fundraising got underway, the Ellisville Dog Park Committee held a groundbreaking on the nearly half-acre park that will be ready for its first canine visitors on Oct. 27. Ellisville City Councilmember Linda Reel (District 2) spearheaded the grassroots effort to build a dog park in her municipality – an effort that is entirely funded by individual donations, not city funds.
As she spoke to a small crowd and their dogs on Sept. 8, Reel appeared visibly moved.
“It was a year ago today that we started our fundraising, and I don’t want to cry … but I’m so excited that a year to the day, we’ve raised the money to start our dog park,” Reel said. “It was my dream, and I can say that my dream has come true.”
Reel said the committee raised $23,000 to fund the first of three phases of the park, which includes fencing in the large dog park area. She is also looking into adding water features and had scheduled a meeting with Chesterfield city staff to discuss some of the features at its dog park.
Before the groundbreaking, Ellisville hosted a Pooch Plunge at The Edge Aquatic Center as a fundraiser for the park.
Rita Huckla, of Wildwood, was there with Bentley, her 8-year-old English springer spaniel.
“I live in a condo,” said Huckla. “So every morning, we usually are out running. Living somewhere without a yard, I’m excited to be able to bring him to an area so he can run and play.”
Krista Ruggles drove 40 minutes from her South St. Louis home with her Akita-mix, Max. Ruggles said she has always belonged to a dog park in the city.
“I would support a dog park anywhere,” she said. “I think they’re awesome, especially in the city where you need opportunities to be socialized.”
Rosemary Farrington was at the Plunge with her Portuguese water dog, Chauncey. Farrington belongs to the Chesterfield dog park – which is open to Chesterfield residents only – and plans on joining the Ellisville Dog Park, too.
“You can never have too many dog parks,” she said.
Judy Raineri watched her goldendoodle, Linus, paddle after a tennis ball.
“We come every year to support the dog park,” said the Wildwood resident.
Although she can walk Linus at many parks, Raineri said she likes “the idea of the owners being able to come with their dogs and let them explore.”
Wildwood resident, Lesley Beyen, said she’s looking forward to having a dog park close by.
“Right now, we drive about 28 miles plus to get to the nearest dog park for our guys,” she said.
Beyen and her husband currently take their two golden retrievers, Annie and Buddy, to a St. Charles County dog park. She said they visit dog parks primarily for the social benefits.
“We actually live on three acres,” she said, “but they just like the socialization – and we enjoy it. It’s just a fun weekend activity.”
Amy Hake, who lives near Bluebird Park, brought her German shepherd, Ginger, to the groundbreaking.
“We don’t have a fenced in yard, so it will be perfect for us to walk up here and let her run around and meet some other puppies and dogs,” said Hake.
The Ellisville Dog Park is open to anyone, and the $40 annual membership fee covers up to three dogs. Registration begins Oct. 8. The park opens on Oct. 27 and will coincide with the annual Howl-oween Canine Costume Contest, a fundraiser benefiting the Ellisville Dog Park. Visit ellisvilledogpark.com for more details.