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“Heart of the Dog” dog park open to public, adding and improving daily
dog park signs
The City of Dawsonville’s “Heart of the Dog” park at Main Street Park is officially open to the public and is being added to and improved on by the City of Dawsonville and local Eagle Scout candidate Palmer Hartley. - photo by Erica Jones

The City of Dawsonville’s “Heart of the Dog” dog park is officially up and running at Main Street Park, and is being improved up and added to by the city and local Eagle Scout candidate Palmer Hartley. 

According to City Manager Bob Bolz, the dog park consists of two fenced-in areas, one for big dogs and one for little dogs, where dog owners can bring their canine companions to enjoy the outdoors without a leash. The dog park also includes benches, pet waste stations and a water spigot, as well as some trees and landscaping, added by Hartley. 

“The dog park is open; there’s still a considerable amount of work to be done but there’s everything you need there to use it now,” Bolz said. “Basically what it consists of now is two fenced-in areas with special access points where the dogs go in, the gate locks behind before they open them again… there’s some benches there, there’s some trees planted and it’s got a parking lot.” 

Bolz said that the idea of the dog park and what all it should entail was brought to the city council by Hartley as his Eagle Scout project. Since then, it has become a joint effort with the city and Hartley, who has raised money to support the funding of the project and put time and effort into things like planting the trees around the park. 

“[Hartley] is doing a fantastic job; he’s raised quite a bit of money for the dog park,” Bolz said. “He’s purchased and planted the trees that are out there and he’s building some exercise equipment for the dogs. His stuff is still going on and he’s working hard but the dog park is open.” 

According to Bolz, when it is finished, the park will be called the “Heart of the Dog” park, a name proposed by Hartley that pays homage to the scottie dog that Dawson County is shaped like on the map. 

“It’ll eventually have a sign with the ‘Heart of the Dog’ park with the county silhouette scottie dog with a heart where the dog park is located,” Bolz said. “The heart on the sign is about where the park would be if you look at it in the county, so we thought that was pretty original.” 

Bolz said that both the city and Hartley have future plans in store on how to improve the dog park, including adding more shade, exercise equipment for the dogs and signage around the park. 

“We have some money in SPLOST 7 that’s toward the park and the dog park and we plan to put up some shade in the areas of the benches so that people are not in the hot sun,” Bolz said. “It’s got a gravel parking lot so that parking lot will be paved very shortly, and eventually we’d like to have some streetlights in that area too.” 

So far, Bolz said that dog owners in the community have been excited for the project and kept the park filled, especially in the cooler evenings. 

“A lot of people are using it especially in the evenings and a couple in the early mornings, especially on weekends,” Bolz said. “Not too much in the heat of the day but that’ll change now as fall gets here.” 

Bolz said that the city encourages anyone in the community with a dog, big or small, to come out to the dog park. 

“We encourage people to please come on out; bring a dog bowl cause there’s a water spigot there so you can fill it up there,” Bolz said. “Outside the dog park dogs are supposed to be on a leash, so when you’re in the dog park you can unhook them and throw the frisbee for them or throw the ball for them, so it’s a nice little area where they can stretch their legs, get out and get some exercise.” 

For those who do use the dog park, Bolz said to remember to respect other people and their dogs, to make sure to use the correct side of the park according to your dog’s size, and to make sure to utilize the waste stations there to clean up after your dog.

The “Heart of the Dog” dog park is located in Main Street Park behind Dawsonville City Hall at 415 Highway 53, across from North Georgia Assisted Living.