Boyd helps open Wayne Hansard dog park

Interim University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd helps open the dog park at Wayne Hansard Park Monday afternoon.

Now we know who let the dogs out.

It was Randy Boyd, interim president of the University of Tennessee, creator of the Boyd Foundation and dog lover.

Dog owners lined up at the new dog park Monday night at Wayne Hansard Park and as Boyd counted down from three, the dogs were unleashed and went full sprint into the park, marking the opening of the new facility.

Boyd, making remarks, said the creation of a dog park is more than just about the pooches. It’s also about the people. He said you’ll find old and young together, black and white... There’s no distinction.

“Sometimes, you’ll even find Republicans and Democrats together,” he said, as laughter rang out. “It happens.”

Boyd and Morristown city officials celebrated the opening of the new park, the second in Morristown. The first park was opened March 2013 at Jaycee Field on the east side of Morristown. The new dog park at Wayne Hansard means a facility on the west side.

The Boyd Foundation helped with the creation of the new dog park, giving the city a $25,000 Dog Park Dash Grant. Boyd and the Boyd Foundation has promised to give enough money to fund creating 100 dog parks across the state.

Last year, Morristown and Jefferson City both received grants. Just a few months ago, the Boyd Foundation announced Baneberry and New Tazewell would also be grant recipients.

Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney said he appreciated Boyd coming to Morristown.

“When I hear Randy Boyd is coming to town, I always know something good is about to happen,” he said.

Craig Price, Morristown Parks and Rec Department director, went through a brief history of how dog parks came to the area, speaking about how the city first tried in 2008, but it didn’t come to fruition until the creating of the park at Jaycee Field.

He said the city knew there needed to be a park on the west side. Besides the grant, numerous area businesses helped with donations and the city put in around $11,800.

“That’s a bargain,” Price said.

He said the park will always be a work in progress and they hope one day to add some shade trees and some water elements. He said the city also hopes to one day open a downtown dog park in order to keep serving the dog-owning public.

“One day, we may even catch Knoxville,” he said.