Downtown Waterloo goes to the dogs with Wiggly Field - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Downtown Waterloo goes to the dogs with Wiggly Field

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Boswell, a 1 1/2-year-old corgi, plays at Wiggly Field with his owner Nicole Dunham of Waterloo. (Amie Steffeneicher, KWWL) Boswell, a 1 1/2-year-old corgi, plays at Wiggly Field with his owner Nicole Dunham of Waterloo. (Amie Steffeneicher, KWWL)
Jim Walsh cuts the ribbon at Wiggly Field in downtown Waterloo on Wednesday, surounded by the Cedar Valley Ambassadors. (Amie Steffeneicher, KWWL) Jim Walsh cuts the ribbon at Wiggly Field in downtown Waterloo on Wednesday, surounded by the Cedar Valley Ambassadors. (Amie Steffeneicher, KWWL)
Dog biscuits at Wiggly Field's grand opening in downtown Waterloo. (Amie Steffeneicher, KWWL) Dog biscuits at Wiggly Field's grand opening in downtown Waterloo. (Amie Steffeneicher, KWWL)
WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Nicole Dunham lives right in the heart of downtown Waterloo, but every time she wants to take her corgi, Boswell, off-leash to play with other dogs, she has to drive to one of the area's two dog parks.

Not anymore.

Wiggly Field -- a brand-new, keyed-entry, off-leash dog park -- is now less than a block away from Dunham. And because she's a JSA Development tenant, she gets use of the park for free.

"It's really convenient," Dunham said Wednesday afternoon at Wiggly Field.

Wiggly Field, a play on the Chicago Cubs' iconic stadium, was the brainchild of developer Jim Walsh, who privately owns Newton's Park at East 4th and Sycamore in downtown Waterloo.

Walsh, city officials and the Cedar Valley Ambassadors helped cut the ribbon just before 5 p.m. Shelter dogs from Cedar Bend Humane Society and other dogs from around the neighborhood were the first through the gate.

David Deeds, controller for JSA Development, said his team was challenged by Walsh to come up with a good use of Newton Park. Wiggly Field takes up about a third of the park, and is situated next to Park Tower Apartments.

"You might wonder why" they'd choose a dog park, he told the crowd Wednesday afternoon before the ribbon cutting. "We wanted an amenity for our tenants, but we're also creating a sense of place and sense of community."

About a third of JSA tenants own dogs, Deeds said, or about 15 renters. JSA will also be adding 21 more residential apartments downtown and expects the number of dogs to increase proportionately.

Dog owners who aren't JSA tenants may access the park for $60 per year by purchasing a membership at nearby Newton's Cafe.

"On behalf of the city, we'd like to thank Jim for this park," said Waterloo City Councilman Steve Schmitt, who was on hand for the ceremony. "Downtown is going through a great renaissance, and Jim's a big part of that."

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