Longtime Jacksonville dog park to close

Published on February 17, 2023 at 3:05 pm

For more than a decade, dogs of all breeds and sizes have romped around Dog Wood Park’s grassy fields and splashed in its 2-acre Lake Bow Wow near the end of Salisbury Road.

But now the owner of the popular Southside Jacksonville dog park says she will close it Feb. 26 — “with great sadness.”

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In a statement posted on the park’s website and Facebook page, owner Katie Kelley said she did not make the decision lightly, but it was forced by “major issues with the land and building that need to be addressed.”

“With the issues facing our land and building, this told us the time had come to say goodbye,” the message says. “From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who made us smile and allowed us to be a part of your pet’s life story.”


The 42-acre swim and play park for people and their dogs, more than 25 acres fenced, was already in operation when Kelley learned in 2012 that its previous owner wanted to sell the site at 7407 Salisbury Road. She bought it and redeveloped it, opening it from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends with an $11 daily fee for dog and owner.

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With pets and people coming and going, the park faces issues that cannot be fixed “without a lot of risk,” Kelley’s statement said.

Regular park users will receive an email soon with information about other dog parks. Members will receive a refund for the remaining time on their membership, the message states.

Jacksonville does have a number of designated dog parks at public parks, including fenced-in areas at Confederate Point Park at 949 Hubbard St., Ed Austin Park at 11751 McCormick Road, and Tillie Fowler Regional Park at 7000 Roosevelt Ave.

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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