HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Following major repairs and renovations, Johnny Steele Dog Park reopened for the first time in ten months. The park, which is located within Buffalo Bayou Park, shut down in late 2017 after it was badly damaged during Hurricane Harvey.
People and their pets alike are thrilled to have one of the city's largest dog parks open again, just in time for the summer.
"So happy that this park is open again because we live pretty close by and it was always my dog's favorite park to come to," said Brianne Thoen. "It's basically this fantastic little oasis in the middle of the city. You drive by on Allen Parkway and you don't realize what's down here."
"You could bathe your dog right here after they get muddy and dirty," said Wayne White. "They could get a drink of water. There are benches all over the place. They've got little lounge areas. I mean, it's like a country club. They could charge a membership for this place."
Improvements include separate entrances for small and large dog breeds, expanded running areas for dogs to roam free, dog-washing stations and covered pavilions for owners to find a shady resting spot.
The park also now features elevated areas and has downsized from two ponds to one to help minimize potential flooding damage.
Officials said Johnny Steele Dog Park has flooded every year since 2015 and sustained the worst damage during Harvey.
The Buffalo Bayou Partnership has spent more than $450,000 in private funds on the renovations since Harvey. Despite that, Trudi Smith, the partnership director of public relations and events, said Johnny Steele Dog Park will likely flood again this hurricane season. Smith said the hope is that these renovations will minimize the damages and prevent the park from shutting down for long periods of time again.
"It's going to flood again because that's the nature of our city these days, so the improvements that have been made will actually help with the maintenance aspect," said Smith.
Johnny Steele Dog Park is now open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. every day.