A Park for Barks
Monday, June 18, 2012
Monday, June 18, 2012
A Park for Barks
‘Disneyland for Dogs’ set to open Aug. 1, offer day care, grooming
By: Veronica Kennedy
Stacye Seremet never would have thought that rescuing a 3-year-old Catahoula and naming her Dixie would lead her to the man who would become her husband, much less inspire the creation of an environmentally friendly, 6.5 acre dog park in north Shelby County.
Dixie went to college in Nashville with Stacye, and the two of them frequented a dog park there. That’s where she met Mike Seremet, an environmentalist who also spent time with his dogs at the park.
The two had much in common, including animal rescue, and they eventually married and returned to Birmingham, where Stacye’s parents, Ken and Kay Horne, and her brother, Carlton Horne, live.
‘Life of its own’
She missed the dog park in Nashville, and asked her family to help her build one here.
“This thing has taken on a life of its own, but it feels good,” Ken Horne said. “We’ve started calling it ‘Disneyland for Dogs.’”
“We’re just excited to bring this to Birmingham,” he said.
Cahaba Beach Dog Park and Doggie Day Care, at 3557 Cahaba Beach Road, is expected to open Aug. 1, a debut that has been three years in the making.
When completed, this doggie amusement park will offer day care, boarding, grooming and training under the roof of a 15,400-square-foot-building. Outside, separate off-leash areas for small and large dogs will offer lots of shaded play space as well as tunnels, ramps, water features and trails.
Dog and Puppy Show
An amphitheater will offer space for dog shows, agility competitions – and according to Horne, “maybe even a concert or two.”
The upper area of the park is being built for people, who eventually will be able to order food from an on-site café and watch as their dogs play.
Humans will also be able to play volleyball or bocce ball, and children will be able to enjoy a playground. Vending machines and restrooms haven’t been forgotten, either.
“We need an area for two-legged animals to play,” Horne said. “This is going to be a very friendly park.”
Cahaba Beach Dog Park and Doggie Day Care is also an environmentally friendly park.
“We’ve tried to be as green-thinking as possible,” Horne said. “We tried to maintain the integrity of the green and surroundings.”
For example, the bricks used on the building and the water fountain areas came from a burned building in Bessemer, and the red rock that paves the half-mile of rails was reclaimed from a nearby coal mine. The rocks that line the trails were excavated from the property.
Mark Thompson, the contractor for the project, made an exciting discovery that led to the creation of the water fountains that have dual spigots for people and dogs. He found iron stands and decided to use them as stands for the fountains. He had small boulders carved into rough shapes suitable for the bowls.
“We are trying to keep everything outside as close as we can to the way the property originally looked,” Thompson said.
Inside however, is a different story. The bottom floor of the building will house dog services. The insulation is a special foam that was blown into the walls as well as the ceiling for soundproofing. That’s because Horne is planning to use the second floor for his education consulting business.
Horne brought Virginia College to Birmingham then founded Culinard, the college’s highly successful culinary school. He sold them to concentrate on his family business – and the dog park.
“You know, we’ve got all kinds of ideas for this place,” Horne said. “We’ll probably even add on a doggie fat farm later where we’ll have treadmills for people and their dogs, so their dogs can exercise and maybe lose a pound or two.”
What: Cahaba Beach Dog Park and Doggie Day Care
When: Opens Aug. 1
Where: 3557 Cahaba Beach Road, Inverness
What: Outdoor walking trails, off-leash areas for large and small dogs, water features.
Extras: Doggie day care, grooming, boarding, training
Fees: Nominal membership fee will be charged; fees will be charged for day care, grooming, etc. Fees have yet to be determined.
Information: Visit www.facebook.com/cahababeachdogpark, or call 205-408-5737.