Not surprisingly, dog parks are the fastest-growing segment of municipal parks across the country. According to a 2019 report from The Trust for Public Land, they found the number of dedicated dog parks in the United States has grown by over 42 percent since 2009. As of that 2019 study, 810 dog parks are now scattered across the 100 largest cities alone (and that number has likely grown since the report was published).
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) reported an estimated 1,200 dog parks in operation in the United States in 2013 and counting. The NRPA reported in 2018 that more than half (55 percent) of park and recreation agencies currently have at least one dog park. While they vary in size, design and amenities, dog parks provide many benefits to dogs and their owners.
According to a poll conducted by the NRPA in 2018, about 91 percent of Americans believe dog parks provide benefits to the communities they serve, and as dog lovers ourselves, we agree! According to the NRPA poll, here are the top three benefits that dog parks bring to a community:
- Provides safe space for dogs to exercise and roam freely.
- Allows dogs to socialize with other dogs.
- Gives owners a chance to be physically active with their pet.
Pet-friendly spaces help create a tight-knit community. For dog owners, a trip to the dog park might initiate new connections and relationships as dogs can spur conversation between owners and make it easier to meet new people. Dog-friendly communities provide dog owners common connection and promote outdoor activity for exercise and socialization, which is beneficial for both dogs and their owners.
Dog parks are growing in popularity with younger residents in the US as well. Results from the same NRPA 2018 poll show dog parks are especially popular among millennials and Gen Xers followed by baby boomers who all agree that dog parks benefit the community. Cities looking for new ways to boost the overall health and happiness of their communities should consider investing in dog parks as part of their master development plan.
For public and privately-owned dog parks, there is also an opportunity for ongoing revenue. As the demand for off-leash dog areas increases, more municipal parks and privately owned dog parks are including Evolution Dog Wash in the design of their dog parks. Dog owners love having access to a pay-per-use, self-service dog wash inside a park. That means that when Fido is done running around in the mud, he can be washed and dried before it’s time to load up and head home.
An Evolution Dog Wash is an amenity that generates revenue for any park program. For example, Santa Barbara County Parks have six Evolution Dog Wash machines that generate approximately $120,000 in annual revenue. That’s $2,500 per week! While Santa Barbara County Parks do not keep track of actual washes, it costs $10 per wash, so their six machines do about 250 dog washes per week combined. Three of the units are located at the very popular Arroyo Burro Beach. This is where the bulk (about 90 percent) of the washes happen. Additionally, one machine is located at Lookout Park in Summerland, one at Tucker’s Grove Park in Santa Barbara and one at Waller Park in Santa Maria.
A revenue-generating amenity in a public or private dog park means money that can be added to the department’s budget for parks maintenance and improvement. Most Evolution Dog Wash customers see a full return on their investment within one year.
As more communities are focused on creating pet-friendly atmospheres, consider the Evolution Dog Wash, an amenity that benefits both the community and the parks department or agency. Before you know it, you’ll be the bark of town.