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City readies to open first-ever dog park
Ceres dog park
The city is readying its first-ever dog park for opening. It is located at the northeast corner of Booth and Helen Perry roads. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Ceres will open its first-ever city dog park next month thanks in part to a $100,000 grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

The new park is going in at the Marie Neel Park at the northeast corner of Boothe and Helen Perry roads. The grant also helped the city to playground equipment on the south side of Helen Perry Road next to the Sam Vaughn Elementary School parking lot. The children’s play area should be open by month’s end.

All of the park improvements – which include curbs, sidewalks, curb ramps, asphalt pavement construction, landscaping, lighting, play apparatus, seat walls, shade structures and ornamental fencing and a dog park – cost $1.2 million.

“The dog park on the north should be ready a month from today (June 13) due to the new sod needing to have enough time become established prior to people and dog use,” said City Engineer Daryl Jordan.

The dog park has two shelters and benches and areas for large dogs and another area for small dogs enclosed by chain-link fencing. The parking lot is sized for six vehicles, one of which is reserved solely for handicapped persons with a handicapped placard.

The city is among 17 local park projects to receive grant funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund Program.

Ceres currently does not have a dog park but the grant would allow it to develop. The grant would also help pay for a children’s play area, a half basketball court and a picnic shelter with barbecue pits. The children’s play equipment, barbecue area and half basketball court would be situated south of Helen Perry Road immediately west of the Sam Vaughn Elementary School parking lot.

Until now the city has not developed much of Neel Park which primarily is a grass-covered storm detention basin with a walking trail around it.

Because of funding shortages, the city has done nothing to develop Eastgate and Lions parks. The city owns about 7.5 acres of the undeveloped 10-acre Eastgate Park site located east of Eastgate Boulevard and south of Hatch Road. For over a decade the city has owned the 10-acre Lions Park site on River Road between Central and Richland avenues but done nothing to develop it.

Dog Park rules state that dog owners are responsible for the handling and control of their dogs and legally responsible for any damage, injury or illness their dogs may cause to other dogs, people or one’s self. Owners must have their dogs leashed prior to entering the park and cannot carry them unleashed into the park. Dogs must be fitted with a collar with dog tag at all times and must be licensed and vaccinated and be healthy. Puppies under four years of age are not permitted. It also goes without saying that owners must pick up any droppings left by their dog. One owner may not have more than three dogs in the facility.

Hours are sunrise to sunset. Loud music, unnecessary noise and consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted.


Marie Neel Park
Marie Neel Park, adjacent to Sam Vaughn, is receiving new children’s playground equipment, benches, picnic tables, shade structures and barbecue pit. The city expects to open the amenities by the end of next week. - photo by Jeff Benziger