It's Finally Here: La Paws Dog Park to Open Saturday

The grand opening of the pooch-friendly facility has been some 12 years in the making.

La Paws Park. Photo courtesy of the city of Mission Viejo.
La Paws Park. Photo courtesy of the city of Mission Viejo.

The long-awaited – and much-debated – dog park is here. (Yes, we know that rhymed.)

Grand opening of La Paws Park – inside joke only for South Orange Countians! – is set for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Councilman Dave Leckness got so excited, he made a selfie video, during which he acknowledges, “It wasn’t cheap.”

How not cheap? According to city spokeswoman Kelly Tokarski, construction came in at $1,09 mil. But the search for the perfect spot was some 12 years ago, so if you add in all the costs in considering the other nine potential sites, your total is $1.4 million.

So here’s what you got for the money:

  • 6 acres total
  • Small dog area, .5 acre
  • Large dog area, 1.5 acres
  • Single-owner dog area, .1 acre
  • 42-car parking area 
  • Walking trail
  • 3 acres of slopes and open space

See what the park looked like before construction.

Saturday’s grand opening will feature a host of dog-oriented vendors, free food and a character sketch artist for dogs. Girl Scout troops will be on hand serving and giving away “bone” cookies.

La Paws Park is located along Felipe Road just south of Gilleran Park.


Debbie Corwin April 14, 2014 at 11:34 AM
It is sad to see that so many people remain misinformed about the FACTS concerning the development and funding of this wonderful park. Say what you will, but having been in attendance on Saturday morning there is no doubt the park is a huge success! The City of Mission Viejo has more parks for people than some of our sister cities combined -- please stop being negative and chose to enjoy the park (or forget you ever heard about it if you cannot be positive). If you don't have a dog, perhaps you should visit the park with a friend or neighbor who does and learn how beneficial to both canine and owner the experience can be! Respectfully,
Shripathi Kamath April 14, 2014 at 12:22 PM
I don't have a dog. I do not like dogs or any kind of pets. I am positively cynophobic. I'd have to be bribed to get to this (or any other) dog park, or park for dog owners. I did not support this dog park (nor did I oppose it). I am still very glad that the good people of Mission Viejo who wanted this and got this for all of us (except me) get to enjoy it for years and years. My only regret is that the councils took so long that it cost more than it should have, and denied residents the enjoyment they seem to now relish. I hope that the council learns from this and either kills a project for good early or approves it fast without painful delays. Delays only cost us more, and leave many bitter. A big shout out to Susan, it is good to see activists get through once in a while.
Dorrie Steele April 14, 2014 at 05:01 PM
I wanted to drive by the dog park this weekend to get a glimpse of it. On the way, I passed, park after park after park - mostly little leaque fields. I am so happy that the dog park is actually here after all these years. What a wonderful Mission Viejo amenity. The park on Sunday was pleasantly packed full of people enjoying it along with their dogs. I have two friends who do not have dogs of their own but plan to visit the park to get their "doggy fixes." It is definitely going to get a lot of use. These people who are still complaining about the cost and the land need to GET OVER IT! If we were building another little leaque park, you would probably not blink an eye over the amount spent on another ball park for your little rug rats. Now it is time for my "furry child" to have a place to safely run around and for me to meet other dog lovers in my community.
Sharon Cody April 15, 2014 at 10:39 AM
I attended the dog park opening and talked to a few of the hundreds of people who attended. Dog owners and their pets were having a great time. This was the perfect place to put this dog park. Because of the soil conditions this land could only be used as a park of some kind. The park also has a lovely walk for those who may not have a dog but would enjoy getting some exercise by walking along the arroyo with the beautiful view. Whether people own a dog or not, there are dogs in our community. Having a place for them to run and play is good for all of us.
Dan Avery April 15, 2014 at 11:48 AM
Manolini, Freedom of Speech means that the government can't stop you from saying something. It doesn't apply here. You must be referring to "The Non-existant Bathroom Problem." As I've blogged before and told you, if you actually address my argument with a refutation, I welcome your comments, if you are looking for a place to spew lies, ad hominem arguments, and vitriol, look elsewhere. That is know as moderating comments and not censorship.


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