After initially saying no, the town of Oro Valley eventually said yes to installing new grass at the Naranja Park Dog Park, much to the delight of pet owners and their furry friends.

“Its his first time to Naranja,” said resident Alexia Rosas, who happened to bring her dog, Bandit, to Naranja Park for the first time.

When made aware of the previous safety concerns of the dog park, she said, “Thats top priority for his safety. I dont want blisters or his paws to get blistered, so thats very helpful to have the grass.”

Blisters and other safety concerns were raised by pet owners this summer when a section of the dog park intended for larger breeds was nothing more than a sandpit.

“They play better too. You can tell when dogs play on grass,” said Mark Platt, who brings his dog to the park every day.

When I visited the park on November 10 for its reopening, the dogs I saw did seem to be enjoying their new terrain. For Platt, hes happy to see improvements being made that will benefit everyone.

“Our point was just put a little something here for everybody,” he said. “Now this is something I can enjoy. I still go across there to watch the grandson play soccer when hes here.”

Platt says hes hopeful the park will be maintained and cant wait for next summer.

Oro Valleys deputy director for Park and Recreation, Matthew Jankowski, says that is the feedback they strive for.

“Whenever we can provide directly what our community is requesting, whether thats turf here on the dog park or additional sports fields or improved playgrounds, thats something we take a ton of joy in as a parks and recreation department,” he said.

Platt said, “This is great, I love it. Toby loves it. We have a group of people that come every day, and theyre all ecstatic.”

Rosas also added that she plans to bring Bandit back more regularly.

The improvements to the dog park are part of a larger project that will bring new amenities to Naranja Park. Those amenities are expected to be completed sometime in Spring 2024.

When asked about the source of the water and how often the grass is watered through the underground irrigation system, no one with the town was available to answer.