People who take their dogs to the dog park at Washington Park will soon have to look for other options.
The dog park will soon be temporarily closed for work that will start on constructing a way to filter runoff from the dog park area so that pollution doesn’t run into nearby Salem Creek.
Later, people who use the Salem Creek Greenway through Washington Park will find their path blocked because of remediation work on a tributary stream that has heavily-eroded banks.
The dog park closure will happen before the trail closure because of the phasing of the work, officials said.
“Fecal coliform bacteria is one of the pollutants that Salem Creek is impaired for,” said Keith Huff, who directs stormwater control in Winston-Salem. “This is an opportunity to enhance the water quality in Salem Creek, which is one of our more polluted streams.”
City officials said that part of the project will involve causing the runoff from the dog park to pass through a shallow vegetated area in order to collect the pollutants before the water makes its way into the creek. The work will include relocating the dog park fencing, digging ditches and installing the vegetated area.
While all that is going on, Huff said, the dog park will be closed for use. The county operates a dog park at Horizons Park on Memorial Industrial School Road in northern Forsyth County.
City officials can’t give an exact date of closure yet because it depends on the schedule — and the weather — affecting the contractor, who is on another job that has to be finished before coming here. Huff said the closure of the dog park should occur sometime in the next couple weeks. Construction could last through the end of the year, officials said.
Angel Villalva, out exercising his two-month-old husky, Dakota, was surprised by the news of the closure.
“I’ve been coming to this one because it is gated, so it is a bit safer for her to be running around,” he said.
Connor Stoddard said he comes from High Point to take his 4-month-old dog, Luna, to the Washington Park dog park because he likes the park.
But Stoddard said improvements would be “wonderful.”
“The last couple years I have been coming here, they have been making improvements, so any new improvements will be great,” he said.
The stream rehabilitation will be done on about 600 feet of a small tributary that has experienced severe erosion. The tributary crosses from the south side of the park to Salem Creek, passing along the west side of an area that is kept mowed.
The work will include removing some trees, planting others and putting in stone and other erosion-control measures.
The work on the stream won’t initially require the closure of the greenway trail, which will stay open while work takes place upstream from the greenway. But later on, officials said, they will have to close the greenway to put in a new culvert to take the stream across the greenway path.
Some parts of the park won’t be affected by any of the work, city officials said. Those include the ball fields, playground, picnic shelter and parking lot off Broad Street.
The work is being done by North State Environmental Inc., a Winston-Salem company, at a cost of about $750,000.
Meanwhile, another local company, Stimmel Associates, is doing the design work on Washington Park renovations that were approved by the voters as part of the 2018 bond referendum. The Winston-Salem City Council awarded that contract in May, with the expected delivery of designs to come in February 2020.
The city set aside $2.5 million from the bonds for a renovation that is supposed to tackle the most-needed maintenance issues along with new amenities.
Improvements could include repaving pedestrian paths, renovating picnic shelters, providing new and heated restrooms for year-round use, a new pedestrian entrance on the south end of the park, improved lighting and other improvements.