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Sterling Bark Park might have big donor

Prospective donor asks for detailed project budget

STERLING – Fundraisers for a proposed dog park at Thomas Park might have a donor who is willing to make the project a reality.

Sterling Bark Park committee members met Wednesday at the Sterling Park District’s Frasor Center to discuss upcoming fundraisers, but also shared the big news with Larry Schuldt, Sterling Park District executive director.

Michelle Anderson, who has overseen fundraising efforts through the Sterling Bark Park’s FundRazr website campaign, received a private message from the donor or donors, who wish to remain anonymous.

“One person offered to possibly fund the whole thing and pay for several years of upkeep, if it passes with the park board,” said Brigitte Willett, a Bark Park committee member. “They said they saw an article in the paper and messaged Michelle.”

Project supporters first started pursuing the idea of a dog park 2 years ago, but have had a difficult time raising money.

Schuldt, who said he doesn’t even know who the area donor is, has been asked to produce a detailed budget for the project.

“I have been asked to provide a budget, and it was indicated that they would make a decision after they see the budget,” Schuldt said.

Preliminary plans called for a pond, dock, an agility course, and separate areas for small and large dogs. The cost estimates came in between $150,000 and $200,000 – with about $70,000 of that needed for fencing. Schuldt said the budget would now likely be in the neighborhood of $250,000.

No park district money would be used for the project, but the land would be donated if the Thomas Park site is approved by the park board.

“We won’t be putting any funds into the dog park until we have the pond cleaned up,” Schuldt said.

The proposed site is in the underused back portion of Thomas Park along Lynn Boulevard. Schuldt said the dog park could potentially use anywhere from one-third to half the park, which would provide about 5 acres for dogs to run without leashes.

Although the Thomas Park site has been at the center of the dog park conversations, Schuldt said it is still up to the board to decide where it’s going,

The committee’s upcoming fundraisers will be held as planned, given the uncertainty involved in the anonymous donor situation. Even if a large check is written after the budget is examined, it’s possible that it wouldn’t be for the total cost of the project.

Upcoming fundraisers

• A fundraiser, with activities for adults, kids and dogs has been planned for Sept. 13 at Cochran's Pub, 13464 Galt Road in Sterling. There will be events for adults, kids and dogs. The dogs will be front and center from noon to 3 p.m., competing for prizes in several contests. The dogs will go home for a nap and the activities will continue at 4 p.m. Kids games will be set up, while the adults entertain themselves with a bags tournament, silent auction, raffles, a cakewalk, bake sale and other activities. There will be plenty to eat, starting with pulled pork dinner, and a DJ will provide music. Doggie tattoos will be done for donations.

• A bucket brigade is planned from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Sterling Walmart.

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