I discovered Valley Village Park one day entirely on accident.
I'd been living in the area for several months and was on on a jog with my dog, running through the residential neighborhoods in a random pattern, when lo and behold, I came across the beautiful little park. It is not visible from any major streets and kind of tucked away and hidden along the 170 Freeway, so it was a pleasant discovery.
It was late in the afternoon, and what really struck me about the park was that there were about three dozen dogs running around without their leashes on while their owners mulled about chatting with one another.
I let my little dog Ziggy off his leash and he had a blast running around and mixing it up with the other pooches. When I came home I told my wife about the great little park I had found and all the dogs that were there. We have been regulars ever since.
Valley Village Park is many things, and one of them is an unofficial dog park. Between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., one can often come and find many dog owners enjoying the park while their dogs run around and play. This is, technically, illegal (shhhh) to have the dogs off the leash, but no one seems to mind.
About a year ago I covered the groundbreaking ceremony for a $400,000 improvement plan coming to the park: VIDEO: Valley Village Park Renovations Celebrated at Groundbreaking
Slowly I have seen all the improvements come to fruition over the last year. The improvements have included new playground equipment with shading structures, a new walking path, new benches, a new entrance ramp, new game tables and new dog bag dispensers. Now, on my most recent visit, I noticed the final part—a partial shading structure over the picnic tables—is being installed.
The dog bag dispensers have been the most pointless addition because upon their installation, I have yet to see actual dog bags inside them. They have been empty every single time I have been to the park, and I often visit several times a week.
The biggest impact for me personally was the walking path. As someone with a toddler, this makes the park a great place to come and push my daughter around in her stroller for a few laps before letting her play on the playground.
All around, the improvements have made a nice park even nicer. Check out the attached photos for a closer look.