The Scituate Dog Park will be opening this summer.
Originally planned for September, dogs and their humans will have a place to run free, off leash, sooner than expected because things are moving ahead of schedule.
“It’s amazing,” said Lisa Huffman, president of Friends of Scituate Dog Park, or FOSDP. “We are so lucky to have such a competent crew in Green Acres Landscape & Construction building this park. We’re thrilled that the park will be completed ahead of schedule, but that has put us behind with our fundraising.”
FOSDP wants to open the park with all the amenities in place so that it looks as amazing as the vision the organizers had three years ago when folks started talking seriously about the need for a dog park.
These are things such as benches, trash receptacles, water bubblers for dogs and people, etc., Huffman said.
In an effort raise funds for park amenities, FOSDP is planning various fundraising campaigns.
“We are focusing on our brick project, and we truly hope people using the dog park will help us in this endeavor,” Huffman said. “Imagine going to the park and seeing your dog’s name, a family or business name, or a memory of a past pet there for all eternity.”
The brick fundraiser involves two sizes of bricks that will come in a variety of shades of red and will be an attractive addition to the park, said FOSDP Board Member Kerry Tondorf.
“We are hoping to have enough orders to be submitted in August,” she said. “Be the first to have your pet’s name right at the park entrance.”
Prices for the bricks begin at $100 for three lines with 20 characters on each line. The most expensive brick is $225 and includes four lines of writing, and the donor can choose one of 10 different clip-art selections.
Additionally, FOSDP will be collecting funds at the transfer station July 6 and 7, and has discussed organizing a golf tournament.
“We’ll have a booth at Heritage Days again this summer and will distribute information about the newly built dog park and collect any donations folks would like to give,” Huffman said.
The First Annual Scituate 5K9 took place on May 19 and was a huge success. Over 100 people signed up and nearly that many ended up running, walking or hand-cycling the race. What made this event so unique was that, in addition to the human entrants, there were about 30 dogs that ran the race with their two-legged companions.
Sixteen-year old Kevin Ierardi of Hingham was the first male to cross the finish line. Jamie Lynn Patterson, 32, from Scituate was the first female to finish.
Rachel Naclerio and a team of 10 volunteers secured local sponsors and organized the event to benefit FOSDP. Dr. Siobhan Burke of Driftway Animal Hospital was the primary sponsor.
Together, this team raised a little over $4,000 and, after expenses, will be donating $2,885 to the Scituate Dog Park.
"We are grateful beyond words and hope that a Second Annual Scituate 5K9 will be in the works for next year," FOSDP said in a statement.
Fundraising will be for the amenities and supplies needed to keep the park clean and attractive. Any surplus funds will be earmarked for Phase II, which is a half-acre, attached park for smaller dogs.
“This park will be built as soon as we’ve raised enough money,” Huffman said. “But first we’re focusing all our energy on Phase 1, which is the park that is being built now.”
The Scituate Dog Park will be located at 167 Driftway on land between the bike path and the wind turbine. Phase I will include a one acre enclosed park for dogs of any size.
“Scituate is such a desirable town with a huge dog-loving community,” Huffman said. “But one thing is missing and that’s a place where dogs can run free, off-leash, protected and safe. There have been several accidents with dogs running at Widow’s Walk because it’s not fenced-in, and the beach is dependent on tides and seasons.”
A safe secure park is an additional selling point for those interested in living here, Huffman added.
“So, everyone benefits - the residents, the real estate agents, the businesses, and most of all, the dogs.”
With construction underway, people can now see the park coming to life, Tondorf said.
“People are very interested in knowing more, and are quite excited about being able to use it.”
FOSDP is always looking for new people to help fundraise or volunteer services or expertise, Huffman said.
“There will be several volunteer jobs available soon and we need gardeners to help plant and donate," Huffman said. "Opportunities for volunteers will be posted on our Facebook page and in our monthly newsletter. Community support is more important than ever.”
Not everyone on the FOSDP has a dog, but we all love dogs and care deeply that they are well taken care of, Tondorf said.
“We also love Scituate, and we want our dog park to be the absolute best one on the South Shore and it certainly can be, but we need your help to make it happen. The dogs will thank you”.
For information, or to purchase a brick, visit www.scituatedogpark.com. Sign up for the FOSDP newsletter and direct any question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Ruth Thompson on Twitter @scituateruth