Dog Park (Approved)

Exciting News from the Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department

Lakeland's Dog Park is now open at Zadie Keuhl Memorial Park!

Discussion for a dog park began in 2012.

In 2016, a proposed land donation, by The Pet Hospitals, spurred the project forward.

When The Pet Hospitals - Lakeland built their own free-standing location, at 3031 Canada Road, they decided to donate 3.6 acres, adjacent to their location and next to Zadie E. Kuehl Park, for a dog park.

Construction began in the fall of 2020, and completed in January 2021.

The City of Lakeland is responsible for sidewalks, road, a parking lot, etc.

The City of Lakeland is One-step Closer to Dog Park

After Receiving $25,000 Grant from the Boyd Foundation!

Lakeland Dog Park – Grant presented August 8, 2018.

Dog Park GrantLakeland is $25,000 closer to having its own community dog park with the presentation of a grant today (8.8.18) at City Hall.

The Boyd Foundation, with co-chairs Randy and Jenny Boyd of Knoxville, presented a $25,000 check to the City to help establish a dog park within Zadie E. Kuehl Memorial Park at 3065 Yukon Dr.

The grant is to be used for phase one of the project which may open in late spring 2019.

(Then) Mayor Wyatt Bunker began the morning ceremony by acknowledging the owners of The Pet Hospitals (TPH), 3031 Canada Road in Lakeland. Jimmy Murphy and Hank Wright were instrumental in donating 3.6 acres to the City for the dog park. The donation was in conjunction with The Pet Hospitals building their new location and moving from leased space at The Corner Shops in Lakeland.

Initial plans call for a two fenced areas for dogs, one each for smaller and larger pets. Walking trails would be expanded into the new land, rather than cutting down trees to create a dog park.

Also attending this morning were Vice Mayor Josh Roman, (Then) Commissioner Matt Wright and Commissioner Wesley Wright, members of the Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department; and, Kevin Rooney, (then) Parks & Rec director. Of special note in the audience were Dave Brown and Greg Kuehl, grandfather and father, respectively, of Zadie Kuehl who was killed in a tragic car accident along with her mother, Stefanie Brown Kuehl, and unborn brother in 1997.

The Park was dedicated in 2002 in honor of the Kuehl family with a sign honoring their memory.

The Mayor thanked TPH owners for their vision for the Park and noted, I can’t think of a more appropriate way to honor Zadie and her family. He also thanked the Boyd Foundation for its vision.

Mr. Boyd congratulated the City and said the grant award was via a contest among 50 cities in Tennessee. "They submitted a great application with a great story," said Mr. Boyd, "and it made sense for Lakeland to win."

The "Dog Park Dash" is a three-year initiative at $1 million a year, said Mr. Boyd. A total of 37 grants are to be awarded this year at $25,000 per grant. From Lakeland, Mr. and Mrs. Boyd were headed to Humboldt, McKenzie and Camden, TN to award grants.

The project actually started because of an insult 10 years ago.

Mr. Boyd’s company, PetSafe, manufactures electronic pet products, and he and his wife were at a charity event for PetSmart.

A representative from the company said that some "backwaters" in America still needed to work on taking better care of their pets. Tennessee was one of the "backwaters" that she referenced. I felt every head came to me, said Mr. Boyd.

We could run from it or fight back, he said. So, they decided to make Knoxville the most pet-friendly city. Then he started a contest throughout the country but no one in Tennessee won. So he developed "Dog Park Dash" to have a contest in his home state. The goal is to create 100 dog parks across Tennessee and make Tennessee the most pet-friendly state, he said.

He remarked that dog parks aren’t just for dogs. They are also great for people. Rich and poor people, young and old people, and occasionally, Republicans and Democrats, sitting on the same bench in a dog park, he said. I hope this grant brings joy to Lakeland and the community.

Although terms of the grant stipulate the City has three years to spend the money, Mayor Bunker hopes to expedite the project and have some components in place and open by spring 2019. We will have fencing, with separate areas for small and large dogs, water features, covered space, benches and agility elements for the dogs, he said. We want people to enjoy the Park.

(Then) Mayor Bunker said the Parks and Recreation Board will work on the components and City officials will depend on them for expertise.

Additional photos

…Photos by Jim Willis, Lakeland Currents.

Keep up-to-date by attending:

Board of Commissioners Meetings and Parks and Recreation/Natural Resources Board Meetings.

See more about the Parks and Recreation Department.

Questions or comments?

Contact Parks and Rec staff