TribLive: Trial program opens for dogs at ARP

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Trial program opens door for dogs at Aspinwall Riverfront Park
Tawnya Panizzi
TAWNYA PANIZZI | Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, 1:51 p.m.
Penny, a yellow Lab, makes friends with Peyton as they run together. Dogs are now allowed to walk on a leash at the Aspinwall Riverfront Park.
Penny, a yellow Lab, makes friends with Peyton as they run together. Dogs are now allowed to walk on a leash at the Aspinwall Riverfront Park.
About the land institute
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit educational group founded in 1936. It has nearly 40,000 members who represent the spectrum of land use and real estate development disciplines.
Its Building Healthy Places Initiative examined how urban design and development can contribute to living environments that are conducive to active lifestyles, social interaction and prosperity, according to the institute’s website.
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Updated 17 hours ago
Aspinwall Riverfront Park has taken its first steps for people to enjoy the 10-acre site with their four-legged friends.

On the heels of the park last week earning a “Healthy Place Award of Excellence” from the Urban Land Institute , the board wants to add to its list of amenities, said Susan Crookston, whose company manages the site.

Park-goers can walk their dogs on-leash through January.

There is a maximum of two dogs per person and the pets must be kept under control and out of the gardens, building and playgrounds.

“We believe that this will be an asset to Aspinwall and the surrounding communities and are confident that it will have a positive response,” park board member Rich DeFelice said. “Expanding the locally available dog-friendly space will no doubt be beneficial to residents seeking to walk their dogs beyond their yard or sidewalk.”

Allowing dogs in the park has been a long-time request from many residents, DeFelice said. The idea was delayed until newly planted grasses and plants took hold.

“The park and the community invested a lot of time and money into the plants and getting these to take hold,” he said. “We had to ensure that this investment was protected.”

The decision to begin the trial period for dogs was made in conjunction with several of the volunteers who maintain the gardens.

The three-month period is meant to allow the board to assess the response from the community and weigh the effect on the park. Board members will review the issue in February and decide how to proceed.

Signs, trash bins waste bag dispensers have been installed at the park. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dog, which must be up to date on vaccinations and have an Allegheny County license.

Aspinwall Riverfront Park is situated beyond the Norfolk Southern rail lines, next to the Allegheny River. There is a quarter-mile walking trail, several native plant gardens, sledding and ice skating in the winter and kayaking in the summer through a partnership with Venture Outdoors.

DeFelice said the park will have volunteers helping to enforce the dog rules but asks everyone who visits to be responsible and report any violations they might see.

“We are all very excited to add another amenity to the park,” he said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, tpanizzi@tribweb.com or @tawnyatrib.