Anthem Dog Park Location Decided

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anthem dog park site
The site of Anthem’s dog park along Meridian Drive. See wider view below. Images courtesy ACC

Anthem’s long-awaited dog park will be located at Meridian Drive, east of St. Rose church and Merrill Gardens on the far east side of town. Anthem Community Council made the unanimous decision tonight after months of planning and evaluation, following years of urging by many residents and more than six years of ACC discussions.

The location was chosen in part because the site is much larger than the other option.

The alternative spot, at Parker Court, adjacent to the park-and-ride off Daisy Mountain Drive, was viewed favorably by some because it was not near any homes. But it offered just 1.7 acres of off-leash space, compared to 2.8 acres at the Meridian site. Also, the Parker Court site is hilly—rising about 35 feet to the peak of a small hill. And traffic in the area is already congested, residents pointed out.

Six dozen people, including residents of Anthem and Desert Hills, attended the ACC’s monthly meeting. Several spoke for and against each site. The chief concerns regarding the Meridian site came from nearby residents in both communities, who worry about potential noise and lighting.

“We are extremely concerned about the residents nearby,” said ACC Board member Rick Kesselman. “We’ll address lighting, noise and other issues absolutely as best we can.”

meridian dog park map
The site along Meridian Drive, with Merrill Gardens to the west, and Desert Hills Drive to the south.

Project Outline

Preliminary plans call for four fenced grassy zones, so use can be rotated seasonally for turf regeneration, and so large and small dogs separated. The park will be lighted and gated with key-card access. Plans call for shade features, benches, water fountains, dog-waste bags and 58 parking spots. No restrooms are planned, but they could be added later, said Community Executive Officer Neal Shearer.

The Maricopa Trail will have to be adjusted, and the county has indicated it doesn’t object to doing so, according to ACC staff documents.

The project, with a preliminary cost estimate around $1 million, is targeted to open in late 2019. The cost estimate is expected to go up as plans are finalized, given today’s higher construction costs and other factors, Shearer said. The project will be paid out of the community’s enhancement fund, fed by by a quarter-percent fee on home sales. That fund held $1.6 million on May 1 and is earmarked for new projects, not operating costs.

Detailed designs, rules, hours of operation, operating costs, and other operational issues are yet to be determined, Shearer said.

Safety & Sanitation

The park will be gated and available only to Anthem residents, who must fill out an annual registration form and provide proof their dog is registered with the county, Shearer said.

In social media, some residents have expressed concerns about sanitation.

“Dog owners will be responsible for picking up after their dog,” Shearer told North Phoenix News. “Use privileges may be suspended for violators.”

ACC is also considering enlisting volunteers to educate users. “Trash will be emptied on a regular basis to control odors,” Shearer said. “Regular irrigation and turf maintenance will also help to keep the park clean and attractive.”

Others worry about lawsuits against the community. “Dog parks are an attorney’s dream,” Anthem resident Justin Ross said on Facebook in advance of the meeting.

“Dog owners are responsible for their dog’s actions,” Shearer said. When registering, residents will acknowledge receipt of rules and the penalties for violators, he said, “and also sign a broad waiver and release of claims to protect the ACC from any and all damage claims.”

Others have questioned whether a dog park is the right use of enhancement funds. But it’s possible even those without dogs may benefit (concerns over noise and lighting notwithstanding). Dog parks are one of several community amenities, along with hiking trails and walkability, that can increase home values, according to the home-search site Trulia.

The project got the initial green light from the ACC in May 2017. Tonight’s decision was about the location only. The dog park is part of the master plan for Anthem enhancements, which included Opportunity Way Park, the recent Community Center remodel, and this year’s pickleball courts project.

Help Save Our Community
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country and even more so this community. Supporting local businesses during this crisis can help keep our community economically viable. Please strongly consider supporting the businesses below, In&Out Magazine's display advertisers, as well as those in the Classifieds section of the magazine (see the full April 9 issue in PDF form). Many of these businesses have been part of the fabric of this community for two decades, not just serving our professional, service and retail needs but stepping up to support local charities, sports teams and so much more. Tip: If you know you’ll need to schedule a service, consider contacting a local business you trust and paying the standard fee for the deferred service. The links below go to their web sites.

Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates • 602-242-4592
Anthem Senior Living • 602-909-9550
Appliance Pros • 502-501-5501
Business Network of Anthem • 623-455-9630
Carroll Law Firm • 623-551-9366
Century 21 Real Estate - Jeff Huff • 623-223-1221
Creative Home Enhancements • 623-551-5409
Daisy Dream Homes Real Estate • 623-879-3277
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Edward Jones • 623-551-0523
Element Dental Centers • 623-551-5555
Hand & Stone Massage • 623-551-6602
Kendallwood Design • 602-252-3844
Kodiak Roofing • 602-501-7717
Luv My PC • 480-703-6609
Merrill Gardens • 623-201-4881
North Valley Water Solutions • 623-551-0515
Preferred Business of Anthem • 623-551-0523 
Prickett Realty • 623-551-8111
ProSkill Services • 623-551-7473
RE/MAX Professionals - Mike Higgins • 623-640-7502
Rise Above Remodeling • 623-551-2013
Soft Water Plus • 623-551-7383
SonoranScapes Landscaping • 602-842-9948
State Farm Insurance - Justin Simons • 623-551-3700
Storage at Anthem • 623-226-8634
Sunset Cabinets • 623-687-6579
Thompson & McGinnis Attorneys at Law • 602-952-2666
Titan Tree Care • 623-444-8448
Titan Pest Control • 623-879-8700
Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical • 623-551-6688

For more local businesses, see In&Out Magazine Classifed Ads >>>  
Robert Roy Britt
NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites and Live Science. He has written four novels. .

Robert Roy Britt

NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites and Live Science. He has written four novels. .

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