For many in the community, it may come as a surprise to know that the Perry Paw Dog Park movement began with a simple opinion column on Patch in April of 2011. There were no grand gestures or community enhancement plans …just a simple column outlining how to behave at a dog park.
With that, a conversation amongst several readers began and those dedicated to exploring the idea volunteered their time and talents to pursue the possibilities. In time, this group gained the support of our Councilman, David Marks, and a task force was formed in August of 2011. The committee was comprised of individuals from different, yet relatable, professions including non-profit operations, accounting, marketing and architectural design – each with interest in seeing the park come to reality. Through word of mouth, facebook http://www.facebook.com/PerryPawDogPark and a website www.perrypawdogpark.org the conversation spread and what was once an idea took on momentum.
Over the past year, the committee has worked to gain valuable insight into the operational requirements for a dog park and celebrated the success of securing a location at Honeygo Run Regional Park. We have been awarded approval to have the park fall under the Perry Hall Rec Council non-profit status and insurance umbrella. These successes were monumental and necessary in order to move forward with the project.
Along the way we found a few local businesses eager to demonstrate their support with fundraising events prior to the county approving a contractor. Chapel Hills Farms generously hosted a bull roast with 100% of the proceeds going to the park - raising in excess of $5,000. THE AVENUE at White Marsh Family Fun Day added another $3,000 to our efforts and Red Brick Station’s first Barks and Beer event provided the park with an additional $600. These efforts along with donations have helped us to raise over $10,000.
We’re off to a great start…but, there is still much work to be done. It is important that those eager to see the park open understand that Perry Paw Dog Park will be located on County owned property. We will be entering into a partnership with the county and much like signing an apartment lease…we will be accountable for our actions and expected to care for this property as outlined by its owner. Bottom line – we will work in the best interest of all those involved, BUT…we do not have the right to do whatever we want! There you have it…it may not be what everyone wants to hear…but, that’s the deal. As the land owner, Baltimore County will require any construction to be completed by a Baltimore County contractor. They will also determine what materials are required for the construction and dictate certain facets of the design and eventual operation terms.
During our most recent meeting, the committee was presented with a very large amount of money to raise…$150,000 to be exact. What does this cover? A fence, grass and dirt. Sound high? Probably. But, we have 2 choices here. Complain…or figure it out! We’re choosing to figure it out.
So, here’s the plan:
- The committee will be working to provide the county with a written proposal based on the construction costs of other dog parks in the area and the county’s requirements for the Perry Paw Dog Park design.
- We will listen to their feedback.
- We will regroup and determine our next step based on this feedback.
- We will continue to seek financial support through viable fundraising events and merchandise sales.
- Once the park’s design is approved, we will establish a sponsorship platform for additional fundraising opportunities. Until that time – it is not appropriate to sell personalized bricks for placement at the park, signage opportunities, etc. as these items are currently not approved.
Here’s what we need from you:
- Continue to support any and all fundraising events.
- Volunteer your talents to raise funds. Who knows when we could use a photographer, artist, etc at a fundraiser!
- Solicit raffle items and put together creative baskets for use during fundraising events.
- Talk to your business friends about donating a portion of proceeds from an event. The event can be their idea…benefit their business…they just capitalize on the goodwill donation aspect!
- Solicit donations from businesses that may have funding to support community initiatives.
- Submit your ideas via the “Got an Idea” link on perrypawdogpark.org. Any effort on behalf of the park should have the approval of the committee to ensure we remain organized and present a unified approach.
Lastly, please remember - THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS OVER FUNDRAISING. Perry Paw Dog Park will incur continuous maintenance charges. We should be so lucky as to have something left for maintenance and upkeep.
We need you. We want to hear from you. And, we will schedule a meeting for all those interested as soon as we have something more to share. Perry Paw Dog Park is a dream in the making. Dream big…and do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.