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Winter Haven Welcomes Dog Lovers to the Grand Opening of K9 Courtyard

Posted June 27th, 2023

A significant stride towards a more pet-friendly downtown Winter Haven was marked on June 26, 2023, with the grand opening of the city’s newest downtown park, the K9 Courtyard. The city’s leadership, alongside residents and their furry friends, celebrated the ribbon cutting – or rather, “the unleashing.”

Julie Adams, the Director of the Parks, Recreation & Culture Department, initiated the ceremony, highlighting the city’s growth and the need for a pet-friendly space. The K9 Courtyard complements the recent rise in pet-friendly residential properties and businesses, making the downtown area increasingly accommodating for dog owners and their companions.

“We have many new downtown residential developments and area businesses that bring dogs to work, so the need for an off-leash area for dogs has grown,” said Adams.

Mayor Brad Dantzler further emphasized the importance of the park, dubbing it an integral part of the city’s continued growth and commitment to quality of life. The K9 Courtyard caters to the growing demand for dog-friendly spaces amidst the City’s ongoing growth and evolution.

“Building a community takes more than building homes and attracting businesses. It requires creating places for connection and quality of life,” noted Mayor Dantzler. “Winter Haven balances all those elements as we continue to grow.”


The K9 Courtyard is located adjacent to the Chain of Lakes Trail. This secure off-leash dog run provides plenty of mature shade and adjacent parking for easy access to both residents and visitors. Its location is a yet another testament to Winter Haven’s Trail Town Designation.

The much-anticipated “unleashing” was led by Mayor Dantzler and Deputy City Manager MJ Carnevale’s dog, Lily, who was the first official canine visitor to chase a tennis ball in the park. Winter Haven Fires Station 1 dog, Wesley, was also in attendance.

Adams concluded the event, saying, “Getting to open our newest park and watching our residents enjoy it is one of the awesome parts of my job.”

The K9 Courtyard is now officially open to the public. For additional information about the K9 Courtyard, please contact the Winter Haven Parks, Recreation & Culture Department.