Beau, a gentle Maltipoo dog, tentatively walked the fence line along the Gonzales’ newly-opened dog park but stuck close to his owner, Raymond David.
“He’s a wonderful pet,” said David, 82, who adopted Beau, a Maltese and toy poodle mix, just a few weeks ago. “He’s bonded really good with me. He’s just now cozying up to the wife.”
Beau and David joined about 15 other dogs and their owners to christen the city’s first dog park on its grand opening April 8.
“It’s all for you people and these furry animals down here you’re seeing,” said Mayor Barney Arceneaux at the park’s grand-opening ceremony.
The dog park, a “pet project” of Arceneaux’s since his first term as mayor in 2008, took years to come to fruition after his predecessor, former Mayor Johnny Berthelot, suggested the idea.
“Barney, I’m telling you, a dog park is going to be a winner,” Arceneaux said Berthelot told him.
Indeed, city residents told Arceneaux over and over again they desired a place to bring their dogs to exercise and play without traveling to Baton Rouge.
Work on the one-acre park finally began last fall on city-owned property behind Jambalaya Park on Irma Boulevard after plans to fund the park initially stalled.
The City Council approved allocating $75,000 from the capital outlay budget to pay for the dog park but that funding was later cut from the 2014 budget in a 3-2 vote.
The funding was included in the 2015 budget and construction was completed this spring. A pedestrian bridge over a canal that runs to Bayou Francois now links Jambalaya Park’s parking lot to the new dog park for easier access.
Pl ans for the park include a public bathroom, Arceneaux said.
The dog park features a smaller area for dogs under 30 pounds and a larger area for bigger dogs, including several decorative red fire hydrants.
A concrete walking path with benches circles the park for owners to exercise while their pets run.
Joel Boudreaux, son of Gonzales City Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Kirk Boudreaux, brought Kash, his 2-year-old Catahoula and pit bull mix, to the park’s grand-opening ceremony.
Boudreaux said he wanted to get Kash used to the park “because I know we’re going to be coming out more often.”
The dog park is a great way to allow pets to enjoy afternoon outings with their owners who attend the city’s “Music in the Park” weekend series at Jambalaya Park, Kirk Boudreaux said.
Trina Guitreau, of Gonzales, brought her Maltipoo named Parker to enjoy the small dogs enclosure at the park.
“It’s going to be wonderful,” Guitreau said of the park. “Now dogs can get off their leashes and get some exercise.”