Dog Days Are Here: Dogtown Park

By Lisa Batson

A much anticipated new community project seven years in the works has finally come to reality in Cape Girardeau.  Dogtown is the name of the dog park which is located in Kiwanis Park in Cape Girardeau, MO.  The name Dogtown came from a book that Jim Riley wrote and Don Greenwood illustrated.  Both men are local to the Cape Girardeau area and were at opening day this past weekend.  The city wanted to utilize the name of the book to name Dogtown and had interest in the graphics that were part of the book.

Illustrator Don Greenwood (left) and Author Jim RileyJulia Thompson, Director of Parks and Recreation, shared some lesser known information about the park with us. Julia said the project cost around $25,000 and was covered by revenue the city generated from the Casino.  When I asked her who did the work on Dogtown, she was quick to tell me that 100% of the work was done by employees of Parks and Recreation.  “By the employees doing the work, that saved us a lot of money”, Julia said.  She informed me that planning took about a year once the dog park was proposed and a committee was put together.  During this time research was done regarding what went into the park and what would work well.  Julia said, “We had to think about how high fences should be, how big the park should be depending on how big the space is at Kiwanis Park, and things like using gravel surfaces for where dogs would urinate so that other surface areas wouldn’t become discolored because of where the dogs chose to “do their business”.  When asked about the cost of maintenance, Julia said she thinks it will cost less than $1,000 per year on limited items that will need to be replaced, such as waste bags in which there are four waste stations and are provided for all to use.

I was curious as to why Kiwanis Park was selected for Dogtown and when I asked Julia, she was well versed as to why that location was selected.  She said, “Many people walk their dogs there and Kiwanis is an open area.  It is easily accessible for many people in the community and has infrastructures such as parking and restrooms available.”  In order for a city to have a dog park, there needs to be at least an acre and have space for large and small dog areas, another quality Kiwanis Park had to offer. Some things the city provided are fire hydrants and culverts that are used in the park that dogs will get to enjoy when they come to run and play in Dogtown. 

Julia said that she hopes and sees special events will be part of Dogtown.  She foresees a list of possibilities: agility competitions, pet training, and individuals renting the space out for parties or special events, and possibly the Humane Society hosting adoption events for dogs.  When asked about expansion for Dogtown or more dog parks in the community for the future, she said that Parks and Recreation will just have to see how this one works out and how well the community uses it.  There may possibly be amenities added, such as added courses and more walking trails, but again, they will have to see how this one takes off and how well it works in the community.

The hours of Dogtown are 6am-11pm and is free to use.  There are rules that are designed for safety of dogs and their owners and to ensure an enjoyable time at the park.  To view the rules, go to .  The rules are also on display at the entrance of the park. 



Here is a 360° view of Dogtown





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