Never let it be said that Gilbert isn’t looking out for its four-legged residents. The town is renovating its acclaimed Cosmo Dog Park, which opened just more than a year ago, and will celebrate with a grand reopening ceremony Aug. 15.
Gilbert officials don’t know exactly how many people and dogs use the park, but when temperatures drop below 100 degrees, “it’s safe to say there’s several hundred people throughout the day,” town spokesman Greg Svelund said.
And according to a resident survey conducted about six months ago, Cosmo falls just behind Gilbert’s Freestone Park in popularity.
“It’s quite possible that next year, it will be the most widely used park in the whole town,” Svelund said.
But all that use has worn out grassy areas bordering the park’s doggy beach, and Gilbert officials are now spending $60,000 to renovate the damaged areas.
Workers are expanding the doggy beach area in an attempt to keep the turf areas drier.
“It’s gotten so much use ... all the wet paws coming across are making it a muddy turf area that’s caused problems for us,” Svelund said.
In addition, the town has recently added a separate area for timid dogs.
The park, named after Gilbert’s first police dog, was even recognized in June by Dog Fancy Magazine as the best dog park in the nation after an email campaign led by resident Margaret Occhipinti.
“We’re big dog people,” Occhipinti said of her family, which includes two beagles and two Bernese mountain dogs.
Occhipinti takes her dogs to swim in the park’s lake at least twice a week.
“With the sun beating down on the dogs, it’s nice to have a place where they can cool off,” she said.
During the cooler, non-summer months, dogs and their owners from throughout the Valley pack the park.
“On a nice Saturday or Sunday morning, there’s no parking,” Occhipinti said.
She said she has met dog owners who have driven up to an hour and a half to visit the park.