Dogs of every shape, size, and breed along with their owners came out to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Wags-A-Hachie Dog Park on Saturday, May 7. Wags-A-Hachie reopened after a six-figure renovation that upgraded the facility by adding amenities and expanding the park’s footprint.
Michael Scott, city manager, expressed his appreciation to everyone who had a hand in making the project happen. He said the park adds to the fabric of the community and will bring people together.
“I think that we have got the best dog park in the metroplex hands down,” Scott said. “I don’t think that you would be able to find one better. It is the type of investment that makes our community better and more attractive. I’ll be honest. These are expensive parks, but they make a difference in people’s lives and will stand the test of time. I think that it is money well spent.”
Scott praised the work of Julie Webb who spearheaded the grassroots effort to bring a dog park to the city in September 2013. Webb brought the idea to the park board, and she and other volunteers led the fundraising efforts to raise the $20,000 needed to build the original facility. Funds were raised from the public, local businesses, and two fundraising events.
“I will tell you this became a very popular amenity and grew,” Scott said. “It was a grassroots effort. The city invested very little dollars upfront. We had names on fences of donors. Really it was a modest park, but it was heavily used. To come back, renovate, and invest in this we knew that it would be a success and that the community would love it. I am very excited to cut the ribbon today on this fantastic park.”
Mayor Doug Barnes shared Scott’s enthusiasm.
“This is an upgrade of the quality of life for the citizens that we have, and other individuals will come in and enjoy it as well,” Barnes said. “Look at all these facilities inside this park here. We are going to have all kinds of activities in and around this area.”
The funding for the now 28,450 square feet park was provided by the Waxahachie Community Development Corporation, whose board identifies and funds projects such as the city’s civic center, sports complex, and other projects around the community to maintain and enhance residential quality of life.
The project originally totaled $724,828, with the scope of the work including demolition of existing on-ground appurtenances, mass grading, paving of a new 58-space parking lot, new pipe rail fencing, new fencing with a mow strip for dog park areas, solar lighting, and dog play and agility features. Also added were new benches, waste receptacles, shade structures, landscaping improvements, and an art mural.
Additional funding of $83,600 from the WCDC’s unrestricted reserve fund was approved March 21 by the council for additional irrigation and the placement of Tex Turf 10 sod.
As with the original idea for the park stemming from one person’s idea (Webb), Dave McSpadden, WCDC board member, said the park’s renovation it’s undergone also started with one person’s push.
“Former council member Mary Lou Shipley inspired the idea,” McSpadden said. “She grabbed Dan (Morton, WCDC president) and me after a WCDC board meeting one day and said, ‘I have got a project for you guys. Let's hop in the car and go.’ It was just like that in how it all started.
Nearly everything wonderful in this town started with a single thought in the mind of one individual,” he said. “If you have thought of something that you would like to see in the way of quality of life you need to contact city offices. Something like this can spring from those conversations.”