By Rodolfo Roman
Special to the Miami Herald
North Miami resident Hal Richman would have travel to nearby Aventura – or north to Fort Lauderdale – so his Golden Retriever, Mollie, could run and socialize with other dogs.
But for Richman and Mollie, those traveling days are over.
On Saturday, both joined more than 30 pooches and their respective owner for the grand opening of the Dog Park at Haulover Park, 10800 Collins Ave.
“The park means a lot to Mollie,” said Richman of his 18 month-old mascot. “All big dogs need to be exercised.”
He walks his pet about three times a day, but on the weekends he takes Mollie to the park for proper exercising.
The addition to the area is a 3.3-acre dog park with separate enclosures for small and large dogs to roam around and exercise off-leash. The place is also accessible to people with disabilities. The park also features water fountains for both dogs and humans and pooper scooper stations with plastic dispensers and waste cans. The $175,000 project was funded with Safe Neighborhood Park and Building Better Communities bonds money.
From nearby village of Bal Harbour, councilwoman Patricia Cohen said the park brings the community together as pet owners can socialize.
“It is overwhelming,” said Cohen, who brought her mixed breed Chihuahua, Brownie. “We didn’t have a proper dog facility in the area.”
Bal Harbour helped out with the cause providing man power for the fencing and terrain installation.
Haulover Park also includes a mile and a half stretch of shores along with shaded picnic facilities, seaside concessions, kite ships and tennis courts. There is a $5 fee for access to the park.
This marks the fourth installment of Miami-Dade County regional dog parks which also include Amelia Earhart Park, Tropical Park and Greynolds Park. Currently, a fifth regional dog park is being developed at West Kendall Park. The county also offers 13 neighborhood dog friendly parks.
At the grand opening, a ribbon cutting took place along with free give aways from Pet Supermarket, which has partnered with the county for the effort. The park, which used to be open space, is still not completed as other phases will soon follow and include shaded areas, landscaping, small pavilion, picnic area, trees and an obstacle course for all types of dogs.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman, who was joined by her chocolate Labrador Andy, said the park was needed in the area.
“There are so many cities and unincorporated areas around here with condominiums and there are dogs that don’t have their own backyard,” she said. “This makes it everyone’s backyard.”