Sun City Carolina Lakes dog owners and dog lovers enjoyed a sunny afternoon, music and fun at the grand opening of the community's dog park last weekend.
Residents checked out the new place for pooches and browsed booths set up by area businesses that cater to dogs and cats. Music played throughout the day, giving the park a festival-like atmosphere, as residents and their guests checked out the newest Sun City amenity.
Small and large dogs have their own spaces in the park, and water and waste removal bags are available to help pet owners keep the park clean.
The more than 400 pet owners in Sun City, an age-restricted community for people 55 and older, can rest on the benches around the park while they watch their pets roam.
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Pulte Homes Division President and Sun City resident Jon Hardy estimates that one-third of Sun City's residents are pet owners. The park gives them a place to let their dogs exercise and allow residents to visit with one another. "It's another social spot, and our buyers are really social," Hardy said.
The newly formed Humane Society of Lancaster County attended the grand opening, along with several puppies they rescued. Sun City resident Jodie Codispoti held one of the puppies while she heard about adopting animals through the Humane Society.
"We're still new to the area and trying to get our name out," said Summer Kingery, a volunteer with the Humane Society of Lancaster County.
Codispoti said she rents her home and can't have pets, but enjoyed watching the dogs play in the park during the grand opening.
The dog park and Sun City's other amenities are open only to residents. With the growing number of pet owners in the community, another dog park may be built eventually, Hardy said.
The opening of the dog park is just the first in a string of activity areas Sun City will be opening this year. While pet owners checked out the new dog park, other residents were busy preparing soil in eight-by-10-foot garden plots, part of a community garden Sun City recently opened to homeowners.
The community's woodworking shop, located beside the dog park, will have its grand opening soon. Just beyond the woodworking shop, two bocce ball courts are under construction.
"This is just the latest," Hardy said. "There is much more coming in time."