Dog Park for Oakland Project Leader and Founder Ryan Schwertfeger has announced the members of his newly formed fundraising committee to help continue organizing and raising funds for the dog park effort.
“I am very excited to get to work with the new fundraising committee and I truly believe the committee is a cross section of people who live in and are involved in town and can bring the kind of experience needed to get the ball rolling even faster,” Schwertfeger said. “I am excited to see the passion about this project emanate from these individuals to in turn help produce what I hope will be a favorable outcome in raising the necessary funds to build a dog park in Oakland at long, long last. I look forward to having healthy discussions about what fundraising ideas and strategies could work best and then using teamwork to get those ideas to be successful.”
On the committee are Oakland residents Bill Wyckoff, Josephine Kukla, Grace Nappi, and Lisa Fomchenko. Also serving on the committee: Thomas “Chopper” Russo, an Oakland resident and real estate agent at RE/MAX Traditions in Oakland, John Fugazzie, who spearheaded the successful efforts to get a dog park at Bergen County’s Van Saun Park, and Oakland resident Charlie Delman, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker in Ridgewood. Local business owners Brian Kresge, manager of Pet Supplies Plus in Oakland, Gregg DePhillips, owner of J-B Pet Supplies in Oakland, and Dr. Robert Gordon from the Oakland Animal Hospital are also members.
Committee member Grace Nappi moved to Oakland just five years ago with her two children and feels that while Oakland is a great town, having a dog park would be a fantastic addition. With her fundraising experience doing tricky trays and serving on the PTO in her former town, she hopes to bring the Oakland community together and use her previous successes in raising the needed funds to make the dog park a reality. “I am looking forward to being part of this great team and getting this dog park up and running,” said Nappi.
Committee member Brian Kresge resides in neighboring Wayne, but chose to open a business in Oakland and is excited about the prospects of getting a dog park in town. “I’m very excited to be helping the committee. Oakland needs a first-rate dog park and Ryan is doing a great job of seeing it through,” said Kresge. “Our store is devoted to all the pets of Oakland and anything we can do to improve things for them we’re eager to support.”
Margot Williams, the office manager at the Oakland Animal Hospital, said the hospital is supportive of the local community and the dog park efforts. “Dr. Gordon and myself have both been here for over 40 years, and are active in the K9 community,” said Williams. “We are both happy to work toward a safe place for dogs to exercise and socialize.”
The committee plans to have their first meeting in the coming weeks. The first large scale fundraising event for the dog park will be September 15th from 6 to 10pm at the Oakland Senior Center where ice cream and desserts will be served and several items will be part of a silent auction to raise additional funds. To learn more, visit www.dogpark4oaklandnj.org.
Greetings Fellow Dog Park Supporters!
Over the last few weeks and months, I have talked extensively with numerous individuals and business owners about the dog park fundraising efforts. The good news is that real progress is being made to continually raise awareness, get donations of time and labor, raise funds, and look for and apply for grants to help us reach our fundraising goal.
However, something I believe has not yet been tapped to its full potential and I have heard a decent amount on this front from people who send me messages and comment on my posts – How can I get involved and help this cause besides giving a donation and merely spreading the word?
And so, after consulting with the Great Oak Park Committee Chairman, I am going to create a dog park committee to help me with the numerous dog park efforts I have going on, with the hope of even further expediting the fundraising and planning process. But in order to have a committee, I’ll need people to join it.
I am looking for a variety of different people from different backgrounds, work experiences, and connections to different organizations in the community. I’m looking for people from the mother with kids involved in the PTO who wants to make the town a better place, to the actively involved resident who has run fundraising events for different groups and organizations before, to the senior citizen with a dog who could help spread the word to friends at the Senior Center, to the pet centered business owner wanting to give back to the community and help their own business thrive, to the Boy Scout needing a project to work on to gain Eagle Scout status, and even to the landscaper who could make connections and offer services to make the dog park a reality.
My plan is to try and hold meetings about once a month somewhere casually – like the library, at a local restaurant, or even at Great Oak Park itself – to just chat about overall progress, see what everyone can do to help until we meet again, and have all of us come up with ideas and execute some of those ideas to advance the cause. I’m hoping to choose between 5-7 individuals from a variety of people who live and/or work in Oakland and potentially also others from nearby surrounding towns who can work with me to achieve our shared goal of building an Oakland dog park.
If you would be interested in joining such a committee, please send an email to email@example.com and include your name, address, contact information, current employment, reasons you want to join the committee, and what you feel you could bring to the table to help make a dog park a reality. Please send all information to me before August 19 so I have time to review the applications and make selections by the end of the month. While details will be announced in the coming days, I will be embarking on a “fundraising and information tour” around Oakland the week of August 14th and I hope besides raising additional funds and educating the public about my efforts, if you are interested in joining such a committee that you can come out and ask me any questions you may have.
Thank you and I hope to hear from many of you in the coming weeks!
(c) 2021 Dog Park for Oakland, NJ
Founder, project leader and Oakland dog park advocate since March 2009. Now a college graduate wanting to complete his 8th grade project from Valley Middle School for the humans and dogs of his community.