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Rochester's first dog park opens at Cobbs Hill

Just in time for the dog days of summer, Rochester has opened a dog park at Cobbs Hill Park, the first of its kind in the city.

The fenced area just east of the baseball diamonds on Norris Drive has a part grass, part stone surface with benches, pet waste stations, and drinking water.  There are separate sections for large and small dogs.

The park will be open from dawn to dusk, and city staff will not supervise the area. City officials say it will be up to users to make sure it's safe and clean.

Councilman Matt Haag says he loves dogs, but for him, the park is more about community and neighborhood building.

"It gives people who have perhaps no other common factor other than the love of a dog the chance to get to know one another. I think in this day and age, this is one of the most important things we can do; encourage civil dialogue."

During a pilot program through the end of this year, the park is only available for city residents who have a licensed dog. They can register for a permit at the City Clerk's office in room 100A of City Hall. They will get a pass code for the dog park security gates and a special tag for their dog's collar.

A locked suggestion box has been placed in the park. Haag said for the next five months, city leaders want feedback from residents.

"We want to hear, are we overcrowded, are people using it, are we having any behavior issues either by humans or dogs. Are there amenities we don't have that would be useful? That's really what we want to hear from the users. From the neighbors, we want to hear if this is working. Is this creating too much noise or disturbance or too much traffic?"

The first residents to use the dog park brought their canine friends to Thursday night’s ribbon cutting.