Carlan, Emily and 2-year-old Lili Cotten all enjoy the large dog park section of Bark-aroo, Manchester’s new dog park, with their pup Olaf.

After breaking ground in late September and waiting through the wet winter for better weather, Manchester’s dog park, Bark-aroo, is officially open. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 23.

Parks and Recreation Director Bonnie Gamble was thrilled.

“We sometimes forget how important pet owners and pets are to the community,” she said, watching the dogs run through the park.

The dog park is the department’s gift to all of the dog owners in the area.

Funded by a $25,000 grant through the Boyd Foundation, the fenced-in park is located in the 24-acre Manchester Sports Park, home to the soccer field complex, with parking on North Waite Street. It has two sections – one for large dogs and one for small pooches.

The park features a water station in the holding area where dogs can take a drink, waste bag dispensers and trash cans and benches where owners can relax as their dogs run free.

Dogs can also enjoy fire hydrants and other donated playground equipment scattered around the two sections or relax under the shade of pecan trees.

Even out-of-towners enjoyed the park’s opening day. Briley and Charlie Lafferty, from Shelbyville, in town to visit family, enjoyed throwing sticks and a Frisbee for their Doberman, Tine.

Bark-aroo Dog Park is now open from dawn to dusk seven days a week.

Officials ask that users bring only dogs that are accustomed to socializing with other dogs.