Tails wag at dog park opening

By: Loryll Nicolaisen Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn’s four-legged friends officially have a new place to play. Dog-park proponents and city leaders alike celebrated the soft opening of the Ashley Memorial Dog Park on Saturday morning at Auburn’s Ashford Park, standing inside the newly gated play area now open to dogs and their owners. “I’m just really proud of this effort. Here’s what happens when you stay the course on a dream,” said Keith Nesbitt, Auburn mayor. Kathleen Harris, president of the Ashley Memorial Dog Park Foundation, thanked key players during Saturday’s ceremony. The park is named in honor of her daughter, Ashley Harris Haupt, an Auburn resident who died in 2003. Her dog Chewie was among the pups at Saturday’s ceremony. “I know she’d be so proud of you, mom and grandma,” Scott Holbrook, of the Auburn Recreation District board of directors, told Kathleen and Norma Harris, Ashley’s mother and grandmother. Sybyl Swan came down to the dog park Saturday with her sons Gregory and Liam, along with the family dogs Scooter and Trixie. “It’s really good,” Swan said of the park. “We were going down to Roseville.” Gregory, 8, agreed. “It’s really fun to play with your dogs and stuff,” he said. Efforts to build the park have been in the works for more than three years, and have been heavily contested, and there’s still work to do. A grand opening is set for mid-summer, once all dog park features are complete. Once complete, the park will feature a walking path around the perimeter, a 74-foot by 54-foot man-made dock-jumping pond, dog-waste stations and separate play areas for small and large dogs. The next step is to plant trees and other greenery, which will be done at a “landscaping work pawty,” held at the park at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. See the Web site www. for more information about the Ashley Memorial Dog Park. Journal staff writer Jenna Nielsen contributed to this report. The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at lorylln@goldcountrymedia. com, or comment online at