Community celebrates revitalization of dog park

New park includes more space and a water fountain

Emily Liu/The Sun
The upgraded park’s new features include separate fenced areas for small and large dogs and a space where the animals can play together.

After several years of planning, the Camden County Commissioners cut the ribbon on April 25 for a revitalized dog park at Cooper River Park.

The initiative came from Collingswood resident Tom Masullo – a regular at the park with his dog Connor – and a team of other community members from the Cherry Hill area. Masullo began bringing his 3-year-old dog to the park during COVID, when the animal was an 8-month old pup.

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“The dog park during the pandemic allowed us to connect,” Masullo recalled. “It was an outdoor space that allowed us to socially distance, but allowed us to connect and engage in our community in a safe way.

“We were really able to support one another during hard times.”

Emily Liu/The Sun
Collingswood resident Tom Masullo has been dubbed the mayor of Cooper River dog park for his involvement in the revitalization project. He and his dog Connor have long been regulars at the park.

Work began last fall on the park, which Masullo described as being about a third of the size of what it is since the revitalization. New features include separate fenced areas for small and large dogs and a space where the animals can play together. There is also a water station for both dogs and people, new regulatory and warning signs and a pavilion for shade and agility equipment.

“They took pretty much everything we asked for into account,” Masullo acknowledged. “The only thing we didn’t get was a water feature – a thing for the dogs to swim in – but I don’t think that was going to happen. That was the pipe dream.”

“This conceptually has been in the works since we initiated Parks Alive 2025 a couple of years ago (in 2022),” explained Commissioner Jeff Nash. “Like many of our parks, we work with the community that is served by that park, and we have planning meetings. We have dog owners and other park participants, and they essentially told us what would make an outstanding park, and what you see here today is a consequence of those discussions.”

The Parks Alive program is a $100-million effort to revitalize the county’s 24 parks, conservation areas and waterways. The upgrade was within its $775,000 budget, including demolition of the old park, according to Nash.

“As a frequent dog park user, dog parks are more than just for the dogs,” he observed. “It allows their owners to go to sleep at night because the dogs can get exhausted and they’re tired at night and you can go to sleep.

“That’s why we’re doing this, so our residents can go to sleep at night.”

Masullo echoed the sentiment.

“You’re out with your favorite pups, your favorite people and you’re able to just decompress, and I think during a period of time, both post-pandemic and during, decompressing is very important,” he pointed out.

For Masullo – a behavioral health provider the dog park is a Zen place.

“I often ask patients, what do you do for self-care?” he remarked. “And this is my answer to that question.”

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