That's right! Northville has two off-leash dog parks.
The original park is on West Cady Street, behind the Art House in downtown Northville. The second one is at the north end of Community Park, at Five Mile Road and Beck. The Cady Street park has been open since 2003. It was an instant success, and the park in the Township opened in 2006.
The parks are for registered members only. Today there are over 400 households and 650 dogs signed up. The parks are operated by Northville Parks and Recreation, with assistance from numerous volunteers. This is the official website:
The idea for these popular parks was born in 2001 at downtown Northville's Friday night concerts. Two Main Street residents walked their dogs to the concert each Friday evening. Seeing all the other people with dogs at the concerts, they talked about how nice it would be if there were a place people could take their dogs to play throughout the year. One of these residents traveled for her employer, and made a point of researching off-leash dog parks in whatever city she visited. She brought the information back to a group of volunteers, which often met at the Coney Island restaurant downtown.
They put together a plan and took it to the Township and the City. After much discussion, the City Council agreed to create the Cady Street park on a trial basis. One of the conditions for opening the park was requiring all potential members to attend a brief orientation session, so they would know and understand the rules and what to expect. An anonymous donor paid for the fence. Waste bag dispensers and trash cans were installed, and the park was ready for the people and their furry friends.
The park opened in June, 2003. With word of mouth publicity, and notices in the local newspaper, 30 or 40 people attended each of the monthly orientation meetings at the City Hall. Soon the park was sold out, and a waiting list was started.
A modest annual membership fee covers the cost of mowing, waste bags, and general maintenance, making the park financially self-sustaining. Valid dog licenses and current innoculations are mandatory.
As the Township developed Community Park at Five Mile and Beck Roads, the dog park committee asked the Township for land for a second, larger park. When Township officials realized that these were really people parks, serving a segment of the population that normally did not use other park facilities, they agreed to create a five acre park. Parks and Recreation staff worked at erecting the fences and clearing out overgrown bushes and vines.
The Community Park facility is open to anyone - whether they live in the City, Township, and School District - or outside the community. Non-residents pay an additional fee. They come from as far away as Dearborn Heights, because there are few dog parks in southeast Michigan, and they like the way ours are run.
The Northville Dog Parks are a local success story. A group of volunteers came together and worked to attain a goal. Progressive local governments listened to their citizens and made the parks possible.
If you are interested in joining one or both of the Northville Dog Parks, the next orientation session will be held on Tuesday, August 21, at the Community Center. Here is the event from the Patch site: