CRESTVIEW — Locals of Crestview gathered with their canine companions Monday at Twin Hills Park where the city’s first dog park will be located.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Bark Park began with a quick word from Mayor David Cadle and then, from the woman behind it all, April Meier.

Meier said she got involved with the process a few years ago after she found out the city couldn't pay for the dog park.

“I asked if we could raise funds for it, and we started getting funds coming in,” Meier said. “So, here we are today getting ready to break ground.”

Along with raising money, Meier also works with the Crestview’s Community Redevelopment Agency in designing the layout of the dog park, researching about other dog parks in Florida and other states, and finding companies that will donate work time.

The dog park will feature a fenced-in area with sections for small and large dog breeds as well as lighting for people who want to bring their dogs to the park in the evening, Meier said. The fence will remain locked with swipe-card access only, which will be available for purchase on the city's website or at Meier's store, Pawsitively Scrumptious, on James Lee Boulevard. Currently, the annual fee for the card will be $25 for city residents and $35 for non-residents.

“Our community has been waiting for this for years, and it’s really not a park about the dogs. It’s more about people with a unique bond who have pets,” Meier said.

Wayne Steele, public services director, said the city currently does not have a date set for the completion of the park because the funding is contingent on donations. But if all goes as planned, it could be completed in two to three months.

Bernadine Grooms was among the locals who brought their furry friends to the ceremony and is looking forward to having a dog park near by where she can bring her shiny, brown Rhodesian Ridgeback named Chelsea.

“There’s just not a lot of really great places that you can take your animals and let them just run loose and be free, be themselves, and interact and socialize with other dogs without a drive somewhere,” Grooms said.