Carmel’s Central Bark Park expansion should eliminate wait list


The Monon Community Center’s bridge over the Monon Greenway has been converted into a fitness area. (Submitted photo)

Many projects are in the works for Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation in 2018, including an expansion to the dog park.

Carmel Clay Parks Director Mark Westermeier said the Central Bark Park at 1427 E. 116th Street will expand from three to four acres this summer by extending a fence and developing the new area. He said storage areas have been relocated to allow for the additional space and that the new area will have a mulch surface to provide a different experience for pet owners.

Kurtis Baumgartner, director of the Monon Community Center, said the dog park has about 400 members with 300 people on the wait list.

“After the expansion, we’ll be able to eliminate the wait list sometime in the May time period hopefully,” he said.

He said some of the waitlist has already been reduced by allowing additional small dogs to receive membership. He said this is because the smaller dog area — which is separated — isn’t as busy and small dogs have less of an impact on the grass.

“The turf area is extremely important so everyone can have a positive experience,” he said.

Baumgartner said the “doggie DNA” program that is used to prevent dog owners from neglecting to pick up dog waste has been successful. The cost of this program has been paid for by members of the dog park — not Carmel taxpayers — and most members have respected the rules. He said they’ve had to test dog waste less than 10 times.

The Carmel Clay Parks Board is also moving forward with plans for the west side of Carmel with The Groves, a project at West Park which includes ab 8,000-square-foot program pavilion, loop trail in the woods, parking and entrance drive. Nearly $5.6 million has been approved for the project.

There’s also been talk about possibly developing a community center, similar to the Monon Community Center, in west Carmel. Nothing specific is on the table, but the idea is in the CCPR master plan, and some members of the Clay Township Board are supportive of the idea.

Carmel Clay Parks is also working on a redevelopment of Inlow Park’s playground, which was approved in January at a cost of $930,000. The new playground includes a skywalk structure, an explorer dome, a rope climbing course and more.

The redesign of the Monon Community Center is complete with new entrances and security checkpoints. Carmel residents can still use the walking track for free, but only if they sign up for a pass that includes a chip that causes an alarm to goes off if they try to enter the fitness area. In addition, some spaces have been converted to fitness areas, such as the bridge over the Monon Greenway, which has new cardio equipment.

“The number one complaint we were previously getting from members is that people were sneaking in,” Baumgartner said.

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