NEWARK, NJ - The city will be getting its first dog park and it will be located in Branch Brook Park after a community group pushed for space where their four-legged friends could run unleashed.

"We are happy to work with the Forest Hills Neighborhood Association, which came to us with the idea for a dog park in Branch Brook,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. “This is another way for the public to enjoy our open spaces.”

Officials celebrated construction for the 30,000-square-foot dog park. It will be located in the North Division of the park along the roadway near the Parks Department Maintenance Facility. It is accessible from the Heller Parkway entrance to Branch Brook.

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There will be a divided section for small dogs and a separate area for large dogs that is about 19,000-square-feet. Both sections will have equipment for the furry pets to run and climb.

The park will include trash receptacles, dog bag dispensers, dog washing stations and new benches.

The Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund Advisory Board were awarded a grant to fund the dog park. Construction on the $631,800 project began in May and is scheduled to be completed by the end of July, the county said.

The new addition to the park is located in the city’s North Ward, although it is a county project. North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos said several residents in the area have dogs and they pushed for the plan through the county, which was receptive.

“Today we are making history in the City of Newark because this is the first dog park created in Newark. Dog parks are not just for dogs, they are also social gathering places for pet owners," Ramos said.

Councilman At-Large Luis Quintana said the project will enhance the usage of the park.

The entrance to the dog park will have a double fence to prevent unleashed dogs from running away. Water fountains for humans and canines will be installed and a crosswalk will be created leading to the dog park.

“This is another example of the vision of our county executive to reimagine our parks system and reconfigure them in a way that preserves their historic significance and meets our needs of today," said state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), who is also deputy chief of staff for DiVincenzo.

Freeholders Robert Mercado, Patricia Sebold and Len Luciano all praised the park's concept as a welcomed addition Branch Brook and the surrounding community.

Although a first for Newark, this will be the fifth dog park in the Essex County parks system. There are Brookdale, South Mountain, Hilltop, and Watsessing dog parks.

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