Bar K dog park takes a bite out of the blight on Kansas City’s Berkley Riverfront

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Penny Monetti routinely drives more than an hour, from Warrensburg, to bring her dog to Bar K on Kansas City’s Berkley Riverfront.

“This isn’t like a dog park. This is so much more,” Monetti said.

Bar K combines a 2-acre off-leash dog park with indoor and outdoor bars and a restaurant.

Since it opened last August, it’s created a dedicated a customer base. Co-founder Dave Hensley said 140,000 people and 100,000 dogs have visited in the park’s first year.

On Monday, Pet+ Magazine awarded Bar K first place in its list of America’s Coolest Pet Businesses for 2019.

“To be chosen as number one was just an incredible honor,” Hensley said. “We’re really over the moon on this one.”

And Kansas City urban planners are swooning over the fast success of Bar K.

Mariah Shields with Port KC said drawing that kind of impressive foot traffic into the first stages of the redevelopment of the riverfront is boosting momentum for the entire area.

“Every developer we talk to, we talked about Bar K,” Shields said. “It’s just been an incredible boom for the amount of people coming to the riverfront.”

Bar K opened shortly after the luxury apartments at Union Berkley Riverfront across the street.

Shields said there are ambitious plans for additional development on parcels of land adjacent to Bar K and the new apartment complex.

“It continues to spur this momentum,” Shields said. “So we’re talking about the KC Streetcar eventually extending to the river. Even more important, the pedestrian bridge is part of that project, so people can walk their dog from downtown to Bar K in a really safe way.”

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