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Temporary off-leash dog park opens in Kakaako

                                Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell held a dog named “Pono” at the opening of a new dog park located in Mother Waldron Park in Kakaako.


    Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell held a dog named “Pono” at the opening of a new dog park located in Mother Waldron Park in Kakaako.

Kakaako dog owners can let their dogs roam free in a new off-leash dog park that opened today.

With the untying of a maile lei this morning, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and other officials celebrated the opening of another off-leash dog park at Mother Waldron Park.

The 7,900-square-foot park, the city’s seventh off-leash dog park, is located alongside a walkway next to Fisher Hawaii, with an entrance gate off of Pohukaina Street. The park opened a few weeks before the celebration, and has already become a popular meeting spot for nearby residents and dogs.

Kakaako resident Russell Ryan brought his dog Pippa to play in the park this afternoon.

“She really loves the park,” he said. “… it’s a tremendous resource for all of us here to be able to let the dogs run around and meet each other.”

The park offers a single area for both small and large dogs to play in, and has no water fountain or dedicated parking lot, but plenty of room to run on grass surrounded by a rectangular, chain-linked fence, and a few trees that provide shade.

“The most incredible thing is when you go to dog parks, off leash, you also see the humans talking to each other about their dogs,” said Caldwell. “They talk about life, their children…People talk to each other and that’s about creating a neighborhood.”

He noted Kakaako’s history, and transformation from a community to industrial and light industrial and now, a dense, urban setting with numerous high-rise residents.

Mother Waldron Park, which opened in 1930, is named after the late Margaret Waldron, a well-respected teacher and playground director known for helping neighborhood youth.

“It is fitting to add this new dog park in a location named after a persistent reformer like Mother Margaret Waldron,” said Caldwell in a news release. “That mentality of adapting our public spaces to fit the communities they serve has really come to define the character of Kakaako, with the City now taking ownership and care of the 40 acres of parks down the street and mural artists applying fresh pieces of artwork throughout the community annually.”

The dog park, however, is a temporary installment, the city said, due to the state’s future development of Pohukaina School, which may impact the park.

No timeline was immediately available for the development of the school.

The city has been rolling out new dog parks over few months.

In January, the city held a blessing for a 9,325-square-foot, off-leash dog park at Kalo Place Mini Park in Moiliili. The park, formerly underused and frequented by the homeless, was transformed into a dog park in a private-public partnership with the Hawaiian Humane Society next door.

The city last month also broke ground on another dog park at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park in Waipahu. The 12,800-square-foot park, which will be the city’s 8th dog park, is expected to open this fall.

Plans for a dog park at Ala Moana Regional Park, however, were recently scrapped.

Hours for the Kakaako off-leash dog park will be the same as Mother Waldron, from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., unless otherwise noted on signs.

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