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Nixa home to Christian County's first park designed exclusively for dogs

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Three small, fluffy dogs, two white and one black, romped around together as their owners watched and smiled. It was a great was to enjoy the fresh air and the unseasonably warm November day.

The Nixa Department of Parks and Recreation hosted guests and dogs from the Nixa Chamber of Commerce for a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Nov. 17, to mark the official grand opening of the Nixa Dog Park. The off-leash dog park spans about four acres of land just north of the intersection of Norton Road and Rosedale Road in southern Nixa.

In the first 17 days, the city of Nixa sold scores of dog tags at $20 each. If people live in Nixa, they are also required to have a city dog license.

"We're a little over a hundred dog tags sold so far, so it's ramping up real quick," Nixa Director of Parks and Recreation Matt Crouse said.

The pass is good for an entire year. Presently, passes purchased in 2021 will expire at the end of 2022.

Over the winter, Crouse expects members to make short visits to the dog park, when cold temperatures will allow for less than half an our of quick exercise. As temperatures warm in the spring of 2022, he hopes that more features will be added to the dog park, including dog runs, ramps, and features for people.

"We're really looking forward to a whole bunch of different amenities, picnic areas and things to come, as spring rolls around and people will be out here using it more," Crouse said.

Pet owners are asked to keep their dogs on leashes when exiting their vehicles and going to the play areas. Each enclosure has a gated concrete pad with benches and space to let the dog off the leash, and then a second gate leading into the play enclosure. Patrons are asked to stay with their dogs while they are playing and exercising inside the off-leash area.

On Aug. 9, the city council voted 6-0 for a budget amendment for $45,925 to build a fence around the perimeter of a park where dogs will be able to run free, play and socialize.

The winning bidder was Diamond Fence, LLC, of Potosi.

Construction was delayed after a parking lot and some drainage work, namely a detention basin, were redesigned. In August 2020, the Nixa City Council allocated $76,045 for the dog park parking lot and drainage project.

Presently, the park does not have bathrooms.

The original plans for the parking lot were redesigned after some neighboring property owners voiced concerns about water runoff, and then the first bids for parking lot construction came in higher than anticipated. After some added delays for wet spring weather, the Nixa dog park opened on Nov. 1.

The new city park features separate areas for small and large dogs. The Nixa Dog Park will be open every day of the year from 7 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset.

To enter the park, a Nixa Dog Park Pass will be required.

To obtain a dog park pass:

• Anyone may purchase a Nixa Dog Park Pass at The X Center (701 North Taylor Way) Mondays-Fridays from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

• To purchase a pass, proof of vaccination for rabies, kennel cough, distemper and Bordetella is required for each dog you bring to the Nixa Dog Park.

• The registration fee for a Nixa Dog Park Pass is $20, and is good for up to two dogs per pass. For the remainder of 2021 and 2022, Nixa Parks and Recreation will sell passes for 2022, valid through Dec. 31, 2022. The pass is good for an unlimited number of visits until the expiration date.

• If you reside inside Nixa city limits, you will also be required to show or purchase a Nixa dog license. This can also be purchased at The X Center, and is $2 per year for spayed or neutered dogs and $3 per year if a dog is not spayed or neutered. These licenses expire Dec. 31 each year, and by city ordinance, must be renewed annually for each dog kept inside city limits.

Currently, there is no restroom at the dog park. Nixa Parks and Recreation has ordered and is awaiting delivery of the permanent restroom facility, which will be added at the park. However, supply chain delays have affected the delivery date. A grand opening event for the Nixa Dog Park will be planned for a later date.

Guests are asked to remember to pick up after their dogs. Bags and a trash can will be provided at the facility, and failure to pick up after your dog will be considered a violation of city ordinance, subject to fine.

Sponsorships of the dog park are available to assist Nixa Parks and Recreation with the cost of park upkeep and to add new amenities to the park. Email info@nixaparks.com for more information on sponsorships.

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