Ribbon was cut Wednesday on the Sulphur Parks and Recreation’s newest addition. Fideaux Field, a dog park, located at 900 West Parish Road, is the first of its kind in Sulphur. And judging from the excitement with which pups large and small greeted the playground, it’s going to be a howling success.
The park was planned, designed, and installed by the staff, according to SPAR Executive Director Steven Gayfield.
“SPAR is not the mom and pop operation it was 20 years ago,” said SPAR Board President Jay Ellender. We’ve added a golf course driving range, the North Frasch facility, the aquatic center, The Grove, the Henning House Cultural Center … and it continues to grow.”
Gayfield said the dog park, along with the rest of SPAR’s facilities, wouldn’t be possible without the public’s generosity, assistance from local government, and the staff. “It’s actually the dedicated staff and the community that makes this a great place to be,” he said.
The park is baseball-themed with the “Little League” side for dogs 30 pounds and under and the “Big League” side for bigger dogs. There is equipment like tunnels and ramps and water fountains for both doggies and their humans. All equipment is made from completely recycled plastic. There are waste bags available and visitors are asked to clean up after their pets. The park is open from dusk until dawn each every day but Monday when the park is closed until noon for maintenance.
“We have a lot of really wonderful days around the park, because it seems like there is always something new,” said Police Juror Les Farnum. “When I grew up in the system, there was a handful of baseball parks and if you didn’t play baseball, you were out of luck. This just brings a whole new quality of life to what we have to offer here in Southwest Louisiana.”
Farnum said that without the support of the taxpayers and the board who puts that money to good use, SPAR wouldn’t exist. “We’re the envy of a lot of areas with what we have to enjoy here right in a very small circle.”
“This will be a place where four-legged friends and their two-legged companions can experience physical activity in a safe environment while enjoying the great outdoors,” said board member Joy Abshire.
“There is much to learn from dogs,” she said. “If we dared to emulate the teachings of our dearest companions, our world would be a better place, where unconditional acceptance and love would dominate, even if it is with wagging tails.”
Abshire quoted a list of traits we should adopt from dogs, written by an unknown author: “Never pass up the opportunity to go on a joy ride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. When loved ones come home, always run to meet them. And, when it’s in your best interest, always practice obedience.”
Fideaux Field will host Opening Day from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. Dogs in Halloween costumes are welcome.