MONTGOMERY: New ‘bark park’ offers leash-free environment

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By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
Montgomery Township’s dogs are wagging their tails in delight, now that they have a park of their own to play in.
The new dog park is located in Skillman Park on County Route 601/The Great Road. Within Skillman Park, the dog park is off Main Boulevard in Parking Lot A.
Montgomery Township officials, as well as officials of the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Somerset County Park Commission, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the dog park.
The two-acre “bark park” provides a leash-free environment for the dogs to play in. It is inside a fenced-in area that is separate from the rest of the 247-acre Skillman Park. There are separate areas for large dogs and for small dogs.
“I am thrilled that dog owners will have a place where they can meet friends and let their dogs exercise at the same time,” said Mayor Ed Trazska.
Freeholder Mark Caliguire, who is a former Montgomery Township mayor, said that Skillman Park is a tranquil and inviting park that encourages visitors to walk the paths, and now they can bring their dogs with them.
“Now, our pets have their own play area within Skillman Park to run free and enjoy the park,” Caliguire said. “Many township residents remember this was a blighted area for many years. Now, this is a world-class park with a first-class dog exercise area.”
Skillman Park, which belongs to Somerset County, was originally known as the New Jersey Village for Epileptics. It evolved into a psychiatric facility in the 1950s, called the North Princeton Developmental Center.
The State of New Jersey closed it in the mid-1990s, and Montgomery Township purchased it from the state in 2007. Somerset County bought 247 acres from the township in 2011 and developed it into a park.