Urban Village Development image

An image from the Urban Village Development Facebook page.

Pooches and people soon will have a new place to romp in midtown Omaha.

City officials on Wednesday announced plans for an “urban” dog park — a small space, but one with key amenities — at Dewey Park near Midtown Crossing.

Parks Director Brook Bench said the dog park will be unlike any other in the city.

“The idea for Dewey Dog Park is to make a memorable space where dogs and owners want to visit,” Brooks said, “a place for the community to gather and to create a park that engages the people surrounding it.”

People will be able to relax and socialize in one of several seating areas while their furry friends frolic in the miniature stream or splash pad, test their skills on a small agility course or play catch with their humans in an open area. Synthetic turf will cover most of the park, and the Omaha West Rotary Club is donating 30 trees. Pets and people will have access to shade, and there will be drinking stations.

Construction on the park should be completed by fall, barring complications, city officials say.

City parks planner Jennifer Cross said the area was designed to accommodate the needs of both dogs and humans.

“You can sit in an Adirondack-style chair, hang out with your neighbors and have a conversation,” Cross said.

Other City of Omaha dog parks are the 2 acres in Hanscom Park and 7 acres in Hefflinger Park. The Dewey Dog Park will be 15,000 square feet, about a third of an acre.

“With the amount of foot traffic at our dog parks on any given day, we see a great need for a dog park that can sustain itself,” Bench said.

The dog park will be sandwiched between the handball court and tennis courts at Dewey, 550 Turner Blvd. The tennis courts, handball court, playground and neighborhood association building currently in the park will remain on site.

Dog owner D’Ann Rhoten said the park will contribute to a sense of community.

“It’s a good opportunity for the dogs to socialize, especially in this area where they’re probably cooped up all day,” Rhoten said as her black Labrador tugged at its leash at the press conference. “It’s a nice way to get them out and not only that, get them so that they’re used to having other dogs around them.”

The park will cater to dogs of all sizes, with one area for large dogs, one for small and medium dogs and a separate “puppy plaza” for the youngest pups.

A drainage system will repel fleas, mosquitoes and odor to ensure a clean area. Waste receptacles will be regularly checked, Cross said.

The park, which Bench estimated would cost $400,000, will be funded through a mix of public and private money. People can donate by visiting redbasket.org and searching Dewey Dog Park. The city will fund the park’s main infrastructure.

The building on the site, currently used by the Leavenworth Neighborhood Association, will be renovated for use by the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department and may include services for dog grooming and toenail clipping for the park’s furry visitors, Bench said.

Mayor Jean Stothert, a self-proclaimed dog lover, said she thinks the new space will enhance the quality of life Omaha is known for.

“This is an example of our commitment to upgrading city parks all over the city,” Stothert said, “and it’s a great addition to the growth of this midtown neighborhood and will provide another beautiful public space that we all can enjoy.”

If the funding develops, Omahans can look forward to similar dog parks elsewhere, Brooks said.

“This is the first one like this, and it won’t be the last,” he said. Fundraising will continue so that the other two dog parks can be improved, and “hopefully we will add dog parks.”