10/29/11 — Director plans more 5Ks for park

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Director plans more 5Ks for park

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on October 29, 2011 11:28 PM

Stoney Creek Park went to the dogs Saturday morning as owners and canines alike turned out en masse for the grand opening of the Stoney Creek Dog Park, held this year in collaboration with the third annual Howl-O-Ween celebration.

The event included a 5K, a one-mile dog trot and canine contests, with all of the proceeds from registration going toward the Stoney Creek Park Alliance, but the event also marks continued progress for the park Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said had great potential.

"The perception is that we're a small city and we don't have the facilities that bigger cities do, but we have outdoor pools that other places envy and now we have the dog park," he said.

And what's best about the park, he says, is that it wasn't, as some have purported, an idea borrowed from other nearby towns, but a movement from a grassroots organization to bring the facility to the area for the enjoyment of all citizens.

Although early rain dampened the turnout for the 5K, Barnard championed the introduction of professional timing for the races and said next year he aims to have the run be certified as an official road race to attract even more runners.

"People like novelty runs," he said, noting the involvement of dogs in the run made the 5K unique. "It's a neat event."

Barnard said he counted many locals among the runners and many airmen from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and that one competitor came from as far away as Wendell for the run.

Growing the event will be a boon for the park, he said, just as higher turnout will be a boon for the rescue organizations the event supports as well.

The dog park requires users to key in an identification number for entry. Access to the park, which includes a dog tag for each dog, costs $20 for the first dog registered and $15 for every subsequent dog. Membership, which lasts a year, will expire Dec. 31, 2012. For more information, visit the Parks and Recreation website or call 739-7480. Registration is held in person at the Herman Park Center Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.