Mill River Bark Park

Update on the Park

In 2019, a pop-up dog park was created in Mill River Park to test its popularity and activate an undeveloped section of the Park. The temporary location has proven to be very popular with downtown dog owners who lack designated open space in the area to exercise their dogs. After engaging in meaningful conversations with the dog run community at Mill River Park, we believe that the temporary dog park should become a permanent space for our furry friends. A dog run within the Park will provide area residents with a safe, activated, and well-maintained site to exercise their pups while connecting to the growing dog community. 

The Collaborative is excited to partner with our friends at the Bark Park to refresh the current space while we work on a larger design of the park space along Washington Boulevard in the coming years. 

Future Plans

We are working with a consulting team to determine the best use and approach for this parcel of land. Among other features it will include a larger dog park, additional gardens, and areas for large and small gatherings. We are working with Stimson Landscape Architects and Centerbrook Architects on this project. Stay tuned for more information on how to participate in this process. 

Fundraising Effort

In the meantime, we are making some improvements to the current Bark Park. The Mill River Park Collaborative and members of the dog park community partnered in a summer effort to raise funds for the much needed “spruce up” and the following was accomplished during the volunteer effort on September 10: 

  • COMPLETE! An ADA Pathway → In an effort to prioritize accessibility for all to the Bark Park, the Collaborative built an accessible platform from the entrance to the opposite end to allow for easy maneuvering through the space. 
  • COMPLETE! Flooring Upgrade → Rather than use gravel that is not comfortable for paws, we upgraded the floor with approximately 40 tons of river rock. The smooth texture of river rock reduces the chance of paw injury, prevents excessive water and mud and is harder for dogs to dig up. 
  • In progress – Repair and Improve Fences & New Gate Repair the existing fence and provide a new entrance gate. 

The following have been identified as remaining projects to make the dog park more enjoyable for our furry friends and their humans:

  • Seating → Benches in the Bark Park have already been replaced and will continue to be repaired and replaced as needed. Going forward, we are looking for benches that are preferably made out of materials such as recycled plastic. 
  • Water Fountain & Wash Down Station (New Fountain) While the dog bowl at the park has served many thirsty pups, it is time for an upgrade. The suggested fountain will also double as a wash-down station for those days that your pup needs a hosing before heading home.
  • Agility CoursePerfect for training, mental and physical stimulation, agility courses are wonderful additions to any dog park. While a full-scale will be included in the long-term dog park, it would be nice to have something in the interim.
  • Shade structure For reprieve from the sun (and rain) for both the pups and the owners!

How can you help? 

In addition to a generous donation to this exciting project, volunteering, helping to spread the work, and providing resources such as donating labor for specific projects and excess materials to be repurposed for the park will be greatly appreciated. With the rising costs of labor and materials, these non-monetary donations hold so much value to this effort.  

Please check back for updates.

Follow on Social

For updates on the effort as well as general information on the Mill River Park and the dog park specifically, please follow us on Instagram: Mill River Park!