Woof, Woof, Hooray: Irmo christens its first official dog park

Posted 12/7/23

Irmo became a little more appealing for furry friends last week.

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Woof, Woof, Hooray: Irmo christens its first official dog park


Irmo became a little more appealing for furry friends last week.

On Nov. 30, the town held a ribbon cutting at Rawls Creek Park, located at 1113 Friarsgate Blvd., the site of the municipality’s first official dog park. The opening marks the completion of the second phase for the in-progress park.

Mayor-Elect Bill Danielson said he already has his key-fob for the park and looks forward to bringing his shitzu-poodle mix, adding that the closest thing before this was the dog park in nearby Irmo-Chapin Recreation Commision amenity Saluda Shoals Park. That park sits about four miles away in Columbia.

“We have the greatest town facilities of any town the size of 12,000 people,” Danielson said. “I'll put us up against anybody, we have the best park facilities.”

“It's a great place to be,” he added.

Danielson said they have had some peripheral conversations regarding more amenities in the dog park, potentially adding items like ramps, tunnels and jumps down the line, though he said they are going to wait and see what people want.

“Let's hear what they say, let's get people using it,” he said. “Once they start using it, their voices will then be heard.”

The mayor said the biggest risk at the park is safety and ensuring that all the dogs are getting along.

Mayor Barry Walker, who lost his seat last month, cut the ribbon for the park and shed some light on the process of transforming Rawls Creek Park into a prominent location within the town.

“I approached the Richmond County Recreation Commission and said, 'Hey, you guys got these tennis courts that you're not using in the middle of Irmo. Would you sell us the land?’” Walker said. “And he said, ‘No, we're not going to sell you the land.’

“I said, 'Well, would you give it to us for about 20 years for about $1?’ And he said, ‘OK, we can work that out.’”

Walker said that after some negotiation, a long-term agreement was struck, allowing the town to take the 10 acres there and turn it into a highlighted feature moving forward.

Danielson touched on how he watched the formerly abandoned property sit overgrown for nearly a quarter of a century.

“It is very important to the folks here, but I think what it says to the folks here is, ‘We know you're here’' Danielson said. "New Friarsgate is the heart of Irmo, everything is kind of on the periphery after that.”

“We've made a significant investment right here in the heart of it,” he added.

The dog park joins an already existent community garden at Rawls Creek, with a skatepark, the third and final phase of the project, set to start construction in early January.

Marie Ryan, a member of the Irmo Skatepark Committee, previously told the Chronicle that the skatepark will be roughly 8,500 square feet and have multiple amenities, including a bank to curb, ledges, a hubba/bump to ledge, down rail/bump to rail, manual pad, flat bar,  quarter pipe, bowl pocket, steep hip, flat bank hip, China bank, bank to ledge, Euro gap and a bowl.

Danielson said the skatepark will hopefully bring in some revenue to the town through competitions, enthusing that it will provide different opportunities compared to the Owens Field Skatepark in Columbia.


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