HARRISONBURG — Denton Park was closed Wednesday evening after the death of a park patron’s dog.
There was a call placed around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday saying there was an animal in distress, Harrisonburg Director of Communications Michael Parks said Thursday.
As police responded to the scene, they found that the terrier mix already deceased. The cause of death is still under investigation and no further details were released, according to a press release.
The park, located downtown on South Main Street across from the Massanutten Regional Library, was already scheduled to close Monday for maintenance stemming from concerns by park visitors and nearby businesses about the upkeep of the park.
Parks said Thursday that the complaints were regarding littering, visitors not cleaning up after themselves, smoking and loudness.
“This is a public space that people want to visit,” he said. “People don’t realize that this is one of our public parks.”
Parks and Recreation staff will conduct repairs and general maintenance on the park, which is expected to take around two weeks.
The waterfall fountain will be cleaned and staff will check the electrical outlets and outdoor furniture among other things to see what needs to be repaired.
Up until now, the park has been open to the public at all times. Once reopened, it will be locked every evening, according to the release.
Parks said locking the park at night will help any further misuse of the park and allow staff time to clean the park every day.
“We do have some officers — bike officers — that spend more time in the downtown area and in that park, so they will continue to monitor the park to make sure it is well-kept,” Parks said.
Staff has asked that once the park reopens, visitors avoid littering and misuse of the public space. Further misuse could result in additional closures, the release said.
A notice will be posted on the city’s social media pages when the park reopens, according to the city press release.