I have run to another city from my home in Derby. Twice. That used to be a more impressive feat, but now that the Hike and Bike path along Rock Road extends south, Mulvane is only a couple easy, paved miles from my front door.
The path was completed a few weeks ago to little fanfare, but each time I’m out, usually on foot pushing a large stroller, I encounter other walkers, runners, and cyclists. I imagine that some of the residents of the country homes outside city limits may need some time to adjust to their newly bustling neighborhood, but for those of us who use these paths, this is an exciting time, not only for the added recreational space, but for what they herald. The sidewalks connect to Decarsky Park.
After years of waiting, the dog park portion of the park is scheduled to open this fall. I am being only a little melodramatic when I say that I have had two dogs grow old waiting for a dog park in Derby. Our oldest, a Great Pyrenees hybrid nearing 12 and firmly in her golden years, just may hang on long enough to frolic on the astroturf.
I have been a good, law-abiding citizen and only my eyes have strayed past the “no trespassing” signs posted at the park entrance, but I can hardly wait to meander down the curving drive and see the park for myself.
My excitement surprised me. For most of the past 30 years I have lived in Derby, and enjoyed the city’s parks, first as a child, then an adult with two dogs and a child of my own. During that time, new parks have been built, and they have been impressive parks. Madison Avenue Central Park and Warren Riverview Park are two recent, full-featured parks. It wasn’t since High Park was built when I was in high school that I felt this same sense of revelation, though.
As I walked this morning, sun beaming down on the stroller, I surveyed the land near Decarsky Park. Fields. Decarsky Park will be the first outpost in what is undoubtedly Derby’s next progression – south to close the gap between our city and our nearest neighbor. Standing on the walking path, surrounded by grass and corn, hearing the call of birds, I couldn’t help but hope that this growth would happen slowly enough that we could cherish the peace of a park surrounded by fields, but as I wheeled the stroller back toward home, I spotted the for sale sign across the street offering acres upon acres for development.
For me, development and progress are a mixed bag. On one hand, I long for a slower pace of life, peace, and quiet. But, without all the hustle and bustle, I wouldn’t be eagerly counting down the days until the dog park opens. I will see you and your four-legged friends there.