Pop-up dog parks benefit pups and their owners

DENVER -- Dog owners in Denver have a new option for their pets to run without a leash: "Pop-up" dog parks near downtown that the city is currently testing.  

The temporary parks benefit both dogs and their owners according to city officials. 

"This is really about creating opportunities to create a more active and more social outdoor space," said Mark Bernstein of Denver Parks and Recreation.

The temporary parks have fluorescent cones defining the borders. Park rangers are also on duty, but it’s up to owners to take care of their dog’s waste.

Currently, a park is in operation at Commons Park off of Little Raven, operating from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and then from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. It will remain open until the end of October.

Approximately 30 dogs come each morning and about 50 visit during the afternoon.

A similar park is already in place at Skyline Park near the 16th Street Mall. The city is also exploring a third park to be located at Speer Park, off of Wewatta Street.

Besides dogs, big and small, you’ll find neighbors meeting and talking to each other, often for the very first time.

"It's almost like a coffee klatch for us and our dogs are getting to know each other, there's [sic] some regulars, there are new dogs," said dog owner Suzie Grace.

There's no question, some parks -- including Commons Park --  have had to deal with problems, like homelessness and drugs.

The concept at the temporary parks helps residents take ownership in a growing part of the city.

"I think it gives us a little bit more control of how this space is being used and brings the residents around to the park which is a good thing because we want to feel comfortable here," said dog owner Sonia Mookherjea.

The city has had to spend a few hundred dollars to buy cones defining the boundaries. Park rangers on duty take crowd counts and enforce rules.

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