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Metro Parks Newsroom

Mayor, Council Members Fund Cherokee Park ‘Dog Run’

Friday May 11, 2007

Cochran Hill site should be complete in August

Cherokee dog run layout
click for full image
Mayor Jerry Abramson and four Metro Council members today announced plans to open a three-acre fenced “dog run” facility in Cherokee Park this summer.  The $85,000 project atop the I-64 Cochran Hill tunnels will join another dog run under development at Charlie Vettiner Park as the first two approved off-leash site for dogs in the Metro Parks system. 

“We’ve heard the dog owners of this community speak out for the need for dedicated facilities where dogs may run off-leash, for exercise and play, and for both the dogs and the dogs’ owners to socialize,” Abramson said.  “Thanks to a wonderful public-private partnership, that dream will become reality later this year.” 

The facility, called the Cochran Hill Dog Run at Cherokee Park, is scheduled to open by the end of August.  A similar facility is already in operation at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.

Mayor and Councilwoman Ward-Pugh in Cherokee Park
Mayor Jerry Abramson discusses the proposed off-leash area for dogs, while Councilwoman Tina-Ward Pugh listens.
Abramson provided $25,000 through his Metro Parks budget, and four Metro Council members have announced they will contribute $15,000 each – including Tina Ward-Pugh whose 9th District includes Cherokee Park, along with Ken Fleming, 7th District; Tom Owen, 8th District; and Ellen Call, 26th District.  Construction will begin once the Metro Council funds have been approved.

“I'm really excited to finally have an officially sanctioned off-leash dog run in Cherokee Park,” said Ward-Pugh, who worked with her Metro Council colleagues to secure funding for the project.  “I think this will prove to be a convenient location and it is my fervent hope that this dog run will allow us to reclaim Baringer Hill for the walkers, runners, bicyclists, parents with strollers and seniors who have long avoided this area.”

The project includes a new gravel parking area, a concrete walkway leading to an entry plaza, and a fenced area divided into two sections, one for large dogs and the other for small dogs.  The two separate areas also allow one side of the dog run to be closed off and re-seeded when one area becomes muddy.

Like the facility at Sawyer State Park, the dog run will be managed by the Louisville Dog Run Association, a local non-profit organization that will cut the grass and collect trash inside the fenced area. 

To use the facility, dog owners will need to secure a permit from the association.  A limited number of $15 pro-rated permits valid for the remainder of 2007 will be available beginning May 14, with application forms available online at  Forms will also be available after May 14 by calling MetroCall 311.  In order to receive a permit, dogs must be licensed through Louisville Metro Animal Services and have current vaccinations.

Metro Parks also is partnering with the Louisville Dog Run Association to open a fenced dog run in Charlie Vettiner Park this year, with financial support from Metro Council members Stuart Benson and Robin Engel.  Permits for that facility will go on sale at a future date.  Abramson has talked with the non-profit group about partnering on dog runs in other city parks in future years.