FREMONT — There will be more space for dogs, more seats for people and a lot less mud at Fremont's new dog park, which opens this morning.

Completion of the 1.4-acre doggy playground in Central Park, just off Stevenson Boulevard and adjacent to the Tri-City Animal Shelter, also should be a boon to BART.

The transit agency now has the green light to plow through the former 1-acre dog park, which was located along the route of a tunnel BART is digging through Central Park as part of its extension southward to the Warm Springs district.

BART paid for most of the $2.5 million dog park after determining that it would cost about the same to build a permanent park as it would to move the dog park to a temporary location and move it back after completing the tunnel.

Fremont chipped in about $500,000 for plants, shade structures and a $400,000 synthetic turf, called K9 Classic, that should keep the park in mint condition even during rainy winter days.

"We're very excited for this to open," Fremont Parks and Recreation Director Annabell Holland said. "I'm just blown away by how beautiful it is and how much larger it is than the old dog park."

Unlike its predecessor just across the softball fields on the north side of Central Park, the new dog park will have a separate area for small dogs, and lighting that will allow it stay open until 10 p.m.

BART also relocated two basketball courts along the BART route. The new courts, adjacent to the dog park, also have lights for nighttime play.

It will take BART another 18 months to finish digging a tunnel under Central Park and Lake Elizabeth, BART spokeswoman Molly MacArthur said.

A temporary dam built across Central Park's Lake Elizabeth as part of the BART project will open for pedestrians, joggers and cyclists within days, MacArthur said.

Not all dog park users are happy with the facility.

Joy McDowell said that residents didn't get enough say in the park's design. Fremont officials said they did listen to park users and added more seats at their suggestion.

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-353-7002. For more Fremont news, read his blog: www.ibabuzz.com/tricitybeat.