Nonprofit raising funds for Detroit dog park
The grass-roots organization Detroit Dog Park -- led by a board of seven pooch pals who live or work in the city -- is in the middle of a monthlong fund-raising campaign to repurpose Macomb Park.
The city-owned, 3/4-acre parcel sits between 17th and 18th streets south of Michigan Avenue, in the shadow of the old train depot and adjacent to Roosevelt Park. With the blessing of city officials, the plan is to open a dog park in summer 2013.
"We're a group of Detroiters that essentially got together and saw a need," said Carly Mys, 36, a downtown leasing agent who has lived in Detroit since 2009 with Henry, her 10-year-old golden retriever, and Aiden, her 6-year-old basset hound-retriever mix.
As of Saturday, Detroit Dog Park had raised $4,943 on the fund-raising site www.Kickstarter.com.
The group hopes to raise $15,000 by Dec. 17. With the cost of running waterlines and other capital improvements, Detroit Dog Park expects to spend $32,000-$35,000.
The group also will raise money through benefit parties, other crowd-sourced fund-raising and grants once it receives federal nonprofit status, Mys said.
The dog owners -- including a Wayne State University criminal law professor, a landscape architect who is overseeing planning, an accountant and a Detroit-based dog day care, boarding and grooming company -- have been finessing the idea for more than a year.
They have been holding informal pop-up dog park events, promoted to the group's nearly 800 Facebook fans.
About once a month, up to 60 owners and their dogs meet at open spaces, such as the site of Tiger Stadium on Michigan Avenue and Balduck Park at Chandler Park Drive and Canyon Street on the city's east side.
"People gather, people bond and socialize their dog," Mys said. "It's an exercise in community. It builds a community not only with socialization of dogs, but people in the community as well."
Detroit Dog Park's proposal incorporates picnic tables, benches, water bowls and dog-friendly pathways.
Detroit already has one park for dogs, downtown across from Cadillac Tower in the median on Randolph. But it lacks a fence around the small patch of land, which has a short walkway and a grassy area with rocks that are washed clean with a sprinkler every couple of hours.
Brad Dick, director of the city's General Services and Recreation departments, said the dog park is one of many improvements the city division is planning, thanks to a combination of federal and state funding along with the fund-raising done by Detroit Dog Park.
"I think what we need to have is diversity in what we offer in our parks," Dick said. "There are a lot of other things we want to do and are looking forward to doing." "Back in the day, we used to use more general fund dollars, but we don't do that really any more," Dick said. "We're focusing those dollars on police, fire -- those kinds of services. So we're focusing on getting federal dollars, grant dollars, things like that -- and groups like these guys. It's leveraging what we've got, together."
For more information, visit the organization's Kickstarter page.
Forwarded by Midtown Alliance
And by Central District Police/Community Relations Council
Per Leslie Malcolmson