The first phase of the new south Meridian regional park will open this year, and with it an off-leash dog area.
Twenty-seven acres of Discovery Park, on south side of Lake Hazel Road between Locust Grove and Eagle Roads, is opening this summer. The park will be 77 acres at full build-out.
The park will have a 1.2-acre off-leash dog area with double entry gates for safe leashing, separate areas for large and small dogs and a drinking fountain for people and dogs, according to Meridian Parks and Recreation Director Steve Siddoway.
It will also have a shade shelters, benches and picnic tables. It will be open daily from dawn until dusk, and will be free to visit, Siddoway said.
The construction of the rest of the park is “largely depend on the results of the current impact fee study and the availability of future funding,” Siddoway said over email.
The first phase of construction is expected to cost $7.3 million. Siddoway said that cost is being covered by a combination of general fund and impact fees.
Phase one of Discovery Park includes a large playground, three picnic shelters, splash pad, two softball fields, a stage, a restroom and concessions building, and parking for more than 400 cars between a parking lot and gravel overflow parking area, Siddoway said.
It also includes walking paths and interpretive gardens such as a pollinator garden, a firewise garden and a garden featuring low water use plants, according to Siddoway.
Dogs on leash are welcome at all of Meridian’s parks. Meridian’s other off-leash dog park, Storey Bark Park, opened in 2015 at 430 E. Watertower St., Meridian.
Storey Bark Park is a fully-fenced 2.25-acre dog park featuring a safe leashing and unleashing area, and separate large dog and small dog areas. It has drinking fountains for dogs and people, restrooms and benches.
One of the goals for the Discovery Park is to bring a regional park to south Meridian.
Regional parks, like Settlers Park and Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park, are designed to serve larger groups and community-wide events, Siddoway said.
When fully developed in the future, Discovery Park will be the city’s largest park at more than 70 acres. It’s amenities “such as the destination playground and lighted softball complex serve the entire community,” Siddoway said.