After months of pleas from local residents, a significant transformation is on the horizon for a section of the Naranja dog park in Oro Valley.

Oro Valley city leaders had initially announced a series of upgrades for Naranja Park in 2022, which originally included improvements to its dog parks. However, these plans were subsequently abandoned, leaving many dog owners feeling frustrated.

Mark Platt, park-goer who frequents the area with his dog and a group of around 15 others, expressed his frustration, saying, “The frustration was that there was grass here long, long ago, and we can’t get the straight story. There are lots and lots of reasons why they think the grass failed.”

In an interview with KGUN 9 in June, a former Parks and Recreation director revealed that there were no intentions to add grass to the dog park’s largest section, designed for larger breeds. The reasoning behind this decision was concerns that larger dogs could damage the grass.

However, pet owners argued that the absence of grass posed a danger to their dogs, particularly during the scorching summer months when temperatures often soared into the triple digits.

Behrad Abbasi, who frequents the park twice daily with his German Shepherd, voiced his concerns, stating, “The sand gets super hot, I tested it a couple of times, touched the ground. But the grass is going to help alleviate that issue.”

He added, “If you’re going to design a dog park or maintain one, it’s nice if you have dogs so you can understand what their needs are.”

Beginning on Oct. 2, the large dog park will be temporarily closed until November 3 to facilitate the installation of more than 14,000 square feet of new grass.

Interim Parks and Recreation Director Matthew Jankowski expressed confidence in the project, stating in a press release, “We feel confident that this enhancement and the accompanying maintenance plan will ensure a park that users and their pets can enjoy.”

“It took a while, but they finally did listen, and it’s going to be wonderful,” Platt remarked, expressing his satisfaction with the forthcoming changes.