Dog owners will soon be able to treat their furry family members to some off-leash running and swimming right in Fort Mill.
A ribbon cutting ceremony and open house is scheduled for May 23, when the Mary Warner Mack Dog Park at the Anne Springs Close Greenway will open its gates. The dog park features more than 12 acres of enclosed natural space for dogs of all sizes and is located at the Adventure Road (formerly known as the Field Trial Barn) entrance of the Greenway on Springfield Parkway.
The ribbon cutting is at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a celebration with local vendors until 2 p.m. The park will be open until sunset.
The dog park, the only of its kind in Fort Mill, was named for the late Mary Warner Mack, a Fort Mill native and Nation Ford High School graduate who passed away unexpectedly last summer at age 23 after a sudden illness. Mack’s family said she loved spending time at the Greenway with her golden retriever Ava.
One of the park’s prime features is a mile-long off-leash wooded trail that leads to Lake Frances and then loops back to the main park area. The lake access is a rare find among dog parks, said Denise Cubbedge, director of development for the Greenway. The park will also offer a dog bathing station, hydration stations and separate, off-leash areas for small (up to 20 pounds) and large dogs.
Dog-themed sculptures by Lancaster-based artist Bob Doster were commissioned for the park.
“I think everybody will be surprised by how wonderful the dog park is,” Cubbedge said. “It far exceeded what we envisioned this place would be. It’s truly unique to have an asset like this in this region.”
Except for the May 23 open house, the park is reserved for Greenway members only and is restricted to ages 13 and older, including the open house.
Mack’s family, which had deep Fort Mill roots, has been involved in the process from the beginning, Cubbedge said.
“They are equally excited to see this become a reality,” she said. “It’s a special asset for the community and a chance to honor the memory of such an extraordinary young woman like Mary Warner Mack.”
The project is part of the Greenway’s Nature Needs You capital campaign, which raised more than $12.5 million, including $200,000 for the dog park. Another project, the Comporium Ampitheater at the Greenway’s Dairy Barn, was dedicated in April, just before the annual Earth Day celebration. Other capital improvements include new, decorative signs and benches.
“We are overwhelmed and so grateful for the public’s outpouring of financial support to help make this dog park become a reality,” Cubbedge said.
She said continued support from the community will help keep the dog park beautiful for pets and their owners.
The Anne Springs Close Greenway is looking to add 100 families to its Friends of the Greenway annual group of supporters this year, Cubbedge said. Becoming a Friend of the Greenway starts at $500 annually and includes a family membership to the Greenway.
“It’s a gift that supports all the different things it takes to make the Greenway run every day,” she said.
For more information, go to ascgreenway.org.
Want to go?
The Mary Warner Mack Dog Park opens at 10 a.m. May 23. at the Adventure Road entrance to the Anne Springs Close Greenway on Springfield Parkway in Fort Mill.
A ribbon-cutting celebration includes vendors 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The dog park will remain open until sunset.
How to join: Those who wish to visit the dog park after May 23 must have a Mary Warner Mack Dog Park membership. The membership is $10 a month and can be added to an existing Anne Springs Close Greenway or Recreation Complex membership, which is required to qualify for a dog park membership.
Registration for dog park memberships can be completed at the Recreation Complex, 971 Tom Hall Street. Proof of current vaccinations and spaying/neutering is required. For more information on becoming a dog park member, call 803-547-4575.
Normal park hours: Monday-Sunday, 7 a.m. to sunset. The park will open at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays to allow for park maintenance.
For a complete list of Mary Warner Mack Dog Park rules, go to ascgreenway.org/join/dog-park-membership.