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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Little Rock opens its second dog park Saturday, March 30 with the opening of the new MacArthur Unleashed Dog Park at 12:40 p.m.

The two-acre parcel on the south side of MacArthur Park in downtown Little Rock comes complete with five freshly painted fire hydrants, a doggie splash pad, watering stations (for dogs and humans), fencing to define areas for both small dogs and large dogs, concrete walkways, LED lighting and more to come.

"We are very excited that the MacArthur Unleashed Dog Park will open Saturday," said Truman Tolefree, director of Little Rock Parks & Recreation. "We are also very pleased with the collaboration with the MacArthur Park Group on this project. The dog park is a wonderful example of how a public-private partnership can work to get things done in our city."

MacArthur Park Group, spearheaded by Downtown Little Rock Partnership, began in 2006 when a group of concerned citizens began meeting weekly with a desire to improve the city's oldest park to a Level A park, and to better connect the park to its neighborhoods and to visitors to Riverfront Park. In addition to MacArthur Unleashed Dog Park, projects completed by the group include creation of the award-winning MacArthur Park Master Plan, MacArthur Park 5K, Arkansas Political History Audio Tour, and the Museum, Art and Heritage Trail and map.

"As more people live downtown, it becomes increasingly important for there to be green space for people and their four-legged friends," said Sharon Priest, executive director of Downtown Little Rock Partnership. "With dog ownership on the increase nationwide, statistics show that there are now more households with dogs than with kids."

The sales tax recently passed by the citizens of Little Rock will help pay for improvements to MacArthur Park and its upkeep.

Approximately $65,000 of the funding has come from the 2012-13 sales taxes. The balance of the $105,000 cost needed to open the new dog park has come from fundraising by members of the MacArthur Park Group.

Priest added, "We would also like to thank the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department for its support in this project, as well as Graham Rich and Central Arkansas Water; Senator Keith Ingram and Razorback Concrete Company; and Harold Joyner and Fence World."

MacArthur Park Group members plan to continue the fundraising to add a solar shade structure, public art, a solar powered emergency call box, WiFi internet access, more LED lighting and seating for humans. A "Paws 'n Craws" fundraiser will be held Saturday, April 6 at 2 p.m. across from the dog park at the Foster Pavilion with profits going toward these projects. Tickets are $30 for crawfish and the fixins', beer and live music. Dogs are free.

To make a donation to the MacArthur Unleashed Dog Park or for more information contact the Downtown Little Rock Partnership at 501-375-0121.

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