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Potential Bark Park donor seeks to determine interest

Fundraiser set for Sept. 13 will be key

STERLING – A project budget is being studied by a prospective donor for a proposed dog park.

The anonymous backer contacted Michelle Anderson earlier this month through the Sterling Bark Park’s FundRazr website campaign. Anderson is a member of the Bark Park committee and has maintained the site.

Sterling Park District Executive Director Larry Schuldt was asked to provide the project budget, which Anderson said the donor has had for a couple weeks.

Schuldt’s budget comes in at $300,000, with $10,000 projected for annual upkeep and utilities. Fencing, at $60,000, is the most costly line item.

Schuldt said his budget includes all the bell and whistles, including a dog wash station, agility course, pavilion and pond construction.

“You could safely say they we could do a dog park with this amount,” Schuldt said. “This is the Taj Mahal of dog parks.”

While there is some wiggle room in the budget, Schuldt said he would rather see more than just a fenced-in area.

“The fence-and-done option is not in the best interests of the park district,” Schuldt said. “Obviously, we need the fence first, but the rest can be done over a long period of time.”

The site at the center of conversation is in the underused back portion of Thomas Park along Lynn Boulevard. Schuldt said the dog park could use anywhere from one-third to half the park, which is about 5 acres.

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.

Schuldt said board members have received regular updates on the dog park project, but it was decided they would talk specifics when a check was in hand.

“From the board’s perspective, this wasn’t really on their radar, but with prospects for a donor, now there’s a beep,” he said.

Project supporters first started pursuing the idea of a dog park 2 years ago, but have had a difficult time raising money. After looking at the budget, the donor is still interested in paying for all or part of the dog park, but first wants to gauge community support at the next fundraiser on Sept. 13.

“They want to see if the community is going to get behind the project and support it,” Anderson said.

The Bark Park organizers also had planned to raise $10,000 – even if a big check comes their way. They have a little more than $5,000 now.

“We initially were hoping to raise $10,000 just from this fundraiser,” Anderson said. “We want to hold up our part of the bargain.”

The Sept. 13 fundraiser, featuring events for adults, kids and dogs, will be at Cochran’s Pub, 13464 Galt Road in Sterling.

Although there would appear to be a lot riding on this fundraiser, organizers say they aren’t feeling added pressure to make it a success.

“We’re just continuing as planned; bringing in $10,000 was what we were hoping to do anyway,” Anderson said. “We’ll just put everything we have into this and regroup from there.”

Sterling Bark Park fundraiser

The Sept. 13 fundraiser, featuring events for adults, kids and dogs, will be at Cochran's Pub, 13464 Galt Road in Sterling. The dogs compete for prizes in several contests from noon to 3 p.m. Time will be allowed for taking the dogs home, and activities will resume 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.

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