Rogers Dog Park & Playground


Photo of Rogers Dog Park & Playground - Tacoma, WA
E 34th St & E J St
(253) 305-1054
Dog Friendly Spot
Rogers Dog Park & Playground is Tacoma's first neighborhood dog park which officially opened at 9 a.m. on October 16. A one-acre area has been fenced and prepared for off-leash dogs at Rogers Park, East 34th Streets.
Park district maintenance crews fashioned a special water fountain for the park. Originally conceived as a hose bib coming out of the ground, Mike Nelson, park district plumber, said when staff got together to talk about the water fountain it was "ruff at first" but with people "barking out ideas" it evolved into a dog's fantasy watering hole. The 1962 fire hydrant converted to water fountain was installed on a bone-shaped cement pad. It appears several dogs have already discovered the pad, leaving their paw prints and names in the cement.

Metro Parks Tacoma was "hounded" by the public to come up with a Dog Park in the metropolitan area. Citizen groups met with park officials on numerous occasions, trying to find the perfect "Spot" available that would appease the cost-conscious and amenity minded.

This project was put on paper and "let off the leash" so construction could begin at the designated off line park, Rogers Park, on the east side of town. Seventy-five volunteers from Metro Park's Chip-In program spent many Saturdays removing several tons of brush, debris and "litter." This was no small task, because the park had been offline for many years with only minimal maintenance. With a large area carved out, work began on the amenities only a dog and his or her owner could love, along with a happy senior staff because of the low cost.

Fencing, gates, paths, upgrades and water fountains are on the forefront of installation. The idea of a doggie water fountain was put to the task of Park's Plumber, Mike Nelson. He knew only a canine would appreciate a fire hydrant as rest stop. Snooping around, Mike found a worn hydrant and decided to retrofit the discarded fireplug to a two level water fountain for dogs and their owners. He then gathered the quick thinking mind of Welder, Wayne Knutson to put it all together.

They drilled, painted and sculpted the hydrant into a water fountain of doggie aspirations. For the base of the fountain, Carpenter, Robert Bitz created a concrete landing in the shape of a dog bone. This was quite tricky because a bone knows no straight lines. Before the concrete had set, names of many familiar and not so familiar dogs were cast along with the paws.

The park is now a big draw to the canine cast of Tacoma. This dog park will be the template for many more in the future, but to the crew of Mike Nelson, Wayne Knutson, and Robert Bitz, this "tail" never wagged the dog.

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