Crews put the finishing touches on enhancements to 10th Street Park, which include a new illuminated sculpture and an outdoor dog park.
BY ELLIE HENSLEY
Go for a stroll in Midtown Atlanta, and you’re bound to see dogs of every shape and size out with their owners. However, the current number of places designed with pups in mind within the district does not measure up to how many people own dogs in Midtown.
According to our 2022 Midtown Community Survey, nearly one in three (30%) respondents who live in the district told us they have a dog. We spoke to two resident dog owners to ask them where their dogs currently go to play and how owning a dog in the city helps them feel connected to the Midtown community. Read more below.
A Place For Play in the Heart of it All
Not surprisingly, the majority of residents who live in Midtown and own dogs would like to see more dog parks in the district, as Piedmont Park's area for dogs is further away. So when Midtown Alliance had the opportunity to redesign 10th Street Park, we decided to reconfigure the previous greenspace into three outdoor “rooms.” One is a flexible space for outdoor games and other activities such as live music. The middle space contains turf and an illuminated sculpture by Vondom that will double as a play area for kids.
The third space is a 7,500-square-foot fenced dog park with boulders that can be used as benches for people or perches for dogs.
This project is 100% funded by the Midtown Improvement District and is the result of a longstanding partnership with the Dewberry Foundation, which leases the space to Midtown Alliance for $1 a year.
Nathaniel Brown, who lives in the Palmer House building on Peachtree Place, is excited to bring his standard poodle Baklava to the new dog park to play with other Midtown dogs. Baklava, 2 (pictured left), is a “pandemic poodle” and a star — he is currently appearing on a cooking show hosted by Joel McHale, participated in a photo shoot with designer Christian Dior, and appeared in advertisements for Hollywood Feed, a Texas-based pet food company with stores across the country.
“He really enjoys the camera, he just wants to be called pretty,” said Brown.
However, Baklava is not too fancy to roll around in the grass and play with other dogs. Currently his favorite place to play is the lawn of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. For cute photos of dogs frolicking on at the Fed, check out the Instagram hashtag #dogsofthefed.
“He loves dogs. He likes dogs more than people … and he loves people,” Brown said. “I stopped taking him to Piedmont Park because it tends to flood there a lot and he would be disgusting and muddy afterward.”
Brown, who lives in a historic building with no dog-related amenities, is excited that Baklava and his friends, including other poodles named Callie and Amber, will have another option for playtime.
“I think especially in terms of value it’s great, because when I was looking for somewhere to live, I had to turn down buildings when there was nowhere close by to walk my dog,” he said. “I don’t want that to be a long process, especially if I need to go to work.”
Midtown Dog Owners: Community Within a Community
For Caroline Bakels, who owns dachshunds Okke and Finn (pictured left), 10th Street Park’s centralized location in Midtown is a perk for a different reason: safety. The building where she lives on 13th Street has its own dog park, but she likes to take her dogs on a walk for at least a three-mile walk every day.
“In the mornings when it’s dark, I don’t always feel safe, so it will be great to go to 10th Street Park with more foot traffic and people walking,” she said.
For Bakels, owning a dog in Midtown has helped her build a sense of community. She sees the same dogs and people on her walks every day on their walks.
“If you know the dogs, you know the owners,” she said. “We’ve made some friends through our dogs just because we meet them and our dogs play. It’s like kids on a school playground.”
TAILgate With Us on Opening Day Nov. 12
Come celebrate the redesigned 10th Street Park with us on Nov. 12, when we’ll be hosting our first-ever TAILgate Party for both dogs and people. Humans and pups are encouraged to wear their finest fall sweaters or rep their favorite sports teams. We’ll have various games, a fall-themed photo booth, music, swag giveaways, and food and drinks available for purchase. We’ll also name a “homecoming court” of Midtown dogs — submit your dog to be considered for the court by Nov. 7! The event is also a fundraiser for Atlanta Humane Society.