Improvements to Broad Ripple’s Bark Park

Synthetic turf and drainage installation underway at Broad Ripple Park's popular dog park. IMM photo.

Construction on Broad Ripple Park’s upgraded dog park is all going according to plan. An enhanced dog park was one of the top five desired changes to the park, according to an online survey conducted during the park’s master planning process: “The opportunity to include the dog park along the primary park frontage of Broad Ripple Avenue should be thought of as an attention-getting, fun aspect of the identity of place.”

The plan recommended “a variety of synthetic turf and aggregate surfaces with corresponding underdrain system” to “help alleviate bare soil and muddy conditions.” Additional recommendations included adding wash stations and shade structures.

All of these elements are being installed, according to Indy Parks deputy director Don Colvin. “We upgraded the facility by adding an elevated wash station so you can wash your dog, installing a drinking fountain, and constructing a shelter to provide shade and improve the user experience,” he said. The improvements cost just under $600,000 and were funded out of the Indy Parks capital project budget.

“We used artificial turf in the heavy traffic areas,” he said. All other areas, including new mounds to add dynamic changes in elevation, will be reseeded with grass and mowed. Colvin said the City’s oldest dog park—established in 1999—had been “loved to death.” “After three separate attempts to install sod at $40,000 a pop, we decided artificial turf was the way to go,” he said.

Sculpting the land forms surrounding the dog park which will be seeded with grass. IMM photo.

Indy Parks staff visited urban dog parks in Chicago and Cincinnati to see how well synthetic turf worked. They were impressed by the durability as well as the opportunity to install drainage. “A 10-inch substrate of stone offers subsurface drainage,” he said. Water seeps into the extensive drainage system and doesn’t puddle, which previously had caused problems. Additionally, Colvin said the new irrigation system allows staff to wash off dog urine and keep the area sanitary.

Approximately 10,000 square feet were added to the Broad Ripple Bark Park, Colvin said, making it nearly 2 acres in size.

Improvements made to the dog park last year, thanks to the Indy Parks Foundation and Beneful, included benches and agility equipment. Colvin said these elements were removed prior to construction and will be put back in place. “This donation served as a catalyst for us to make an investment in the dog park,” he added.

Park manager Kathy Fitzgerald is hoping to reopen in late June. “Annual users are usually around 1,000 but this year we have already sold over 600 annual passes and anticipate a big increase when the new park opens,” she said. More at the Friends of Broad Ripple Park website.