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The City of Loveland named its new dog park in honor of the Matt Haverkamp Foundation during a grand opening celebration on May 7.
The Matt Haverkamp Foundation Dog Park — the first spaced dedicated to canines within city limits — is located at the rear of Kiwanis Park, 236 Wall Street.
During the grand opening, a ceremony was held to unveil the park sign, officially announcing the dog park’s name to the public.
“This park is dedicated to all K9s and their handlers who serve the Loveland community and the Greater Cincinnati area, thanks to The Matt Haverkamp Foundation,” said David Kennedy, City Manager.
Since 2007, the city has worked with The Matt Haverkamp Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) established in remembrance of Golf Manor Police K9 Handler Matt Haverkamp. The Foundation provides K9 officers to police agencies around the Tri-State.
In the future, a custom plaque will be placed at the dog park to recognize the Foundation’s work to support law enforcement agencies throughout the region, as well as the city’s own K9 officers. The Foundation was essential to helping build the City of Loveland’s K9 program in its early years.
In 1999, retired Loveland Police Department (LPD) lieutenant Jose Alejandro went to local leaders and businesses to raise funds to help purchase the city’s first police dog, Argo. Argo served until 2007, when The Matt Haverkamp Foundation funded Azar. Since then, the Foundation has funded two more K9 officers: Mack and Cruz. Cruz — the 83rd dog funded by the Foundation —joined the force in late 2021.
“Cruz already has drug arrests and an apprehension of a felony suspect to his credit. Cruz has huge paws to fill, but he is well on his way,” said Officer Kyle Bibelhausen, LPD’s current K9 handler, during the grand opening ceremony.
He added: “All our Loveland K9s have been excellent examples of the classic ‘good boy.’ They have kept us safe in many ways; some ways that can’t be quantified with statistics. They have literally saved lives, lessened manhours, found those who are lost… I’m excited to be part of giving a gift back to all the dogs in our community, with a nice fence and a huge area to run — a place where the dogs are safe to be dogs.”
Local businesses and organizations including the Clermont County Animal Shelter, Dolph’s Dogs, The Dog Wizard, Off Leash K9 Training, Graeter’s Ice Cream of Loveland, and Love Our Land also attended the grand opening celebration.
The approximately two-acre dog park has been unofficially open since February 2022. The dog park came about because of resident suggestions to the city’s Parks & Recreation Board. The Board moved the project forward with the help of a group of local high school seniors from Tigers Inc., Loveland High School’s nonprofit organization for students with business skill interests.
For more information about City of Loveland parks, please click here.