Q: So how are the fundraising efforts going?
A: Fundraising efforts continue to go very well as we had our first large scale fundraiser: Dessert for Dog Park Dollars. Our total raised that was deposited in the bank was $952! It was also a delight to meet so many Oakland and area residents who came out to support the event and I thank you all for coming and for your donations towards the dog park.
We are still getting some smaller donations getting collected online, donations being mailed in, money being given through our scattered donation boxes around Oakland, and through the magnet fundraiser. The combined “fundraised” dollars (which is actual dollars in the bank: about $17,500) PLUS savings that will be realized when work is done (as several businesses have committed to providing a discount for work they can do for the dog park efforts) is now a little over $25,000. So we're close to updating the bone chart, but not yet!
Some visual and behind the scenes work is still going on that is having a huge impact. Some local Boy Scouts and kids in need of community service hours started to remove some of the vines, garbage, and overgrowth in the dog park area earlier this month. I am waiting to hear back if they can continue their work before the cold of winter sets in. The dog park committee has also been active at work planning and brainstorming some fundraising events and reaching out to their contacts and connections to see who can help and contribute. On both the events and connections front, I hope to be able to share some additional news on this next month.
In addition, Mark Borst from Borst Landscaping has graciously offered to help do some architectural landscape drawing work for the proposed dog park so the public and potential donors can get an idea what it would look like. It will still be some time until that is seen (as some meetings and information gathering needs to occur before drawing work can begin) but that is coming down the pipe. I’m also still continually reaching out to a variety of businesses, individuals, and organizations to see who can help contribute towards this project and have talked with a few businesses and community groups of late to learn if and how they can help.
If you are interested in hosting a fundraiser for the dog park efforts, that is still more than welcome and I would greatly appreciate that kind of help and event to take place. Please reach out to me and I can assist in getting the word out and helping to organize. Small to mid-sized fundraisers that a local or nearby resident could host or co-host with somebody else is still something I think is very doable and could raise a good amount for the cause.
Q: How is it going on the grant work?
A: Sadly, we didn't win that PetSafe grant from a while back, but we are undeterred in looking for and applying for other grants. We are currently working on applying for several grants from local and area businesses, organizations and companies and we hope to have all of those submitted before the holidays. If you see any grant you think we could apply for or are part of any group that gives out grants that you think a dog park could be included on, please reach out and let me know.
Q: Can you remind me again why it is going to cost so much to build this dog park? Why do you need to raise $80,000-$100,000? What is costing that much?
A: So to repeat, the majority of the reasons why it costs so much is because we need to make sure we conform to Borough insurance requirements and remove previous elements of the site that cannot stay anymore. To re-highlight some of the higher expenses to further explain, these are some current figures I have:
Q: So you've been working on this for 8 and a half years. When could a dog park feasibly open in Oakland at the Great Oak Park?
A: If we continue to have several and successful fundraising events and decent sized donations, receive donations of labor, and we are able to secure a few grants as well, I think it is still fairly reasonable to say we could have all or almost all the funds needed by about this time next year. However, not getting continued donations or any grants would slow things down in regard to reaching the fundraising target. In addition, the Park Committee needs to also have funds raised to complete the complementary and necessary projects to open that area of the park, namely the roadway in and out and a parking area for people wishing to use the services on that side of the park. The Borough is going to ask for a 50/50 County grant to help pay for that cost, but of course, the other half of that will still need to be raised. Once all those funds (dog park and other related) are raised, formal Borough approval to begin construction would still be needed. THEN, when we get that, it would be just a matter of time as to when work could begin and when will work finish to determine when Oakland’s first dog park can be open to the public.
Please continue to tell your friends, family, neighbors and fellow dog owners about the dog park website: www.dogpark4oaklandnj.org as it has the latest news, some videos and images, a form to contact me, and the link in order to donate. A lot of support has come in through word of mouth or by people seeing news about the efforts on Facebook, on news websites, and in the Suburban News, so your help can make all the difference. And as always, thank you all again for your interest, prayers, and support. I have to admit its such a cool feeling to see the dog park magnets on cars around town knowing that you are all out there and proclaiming that you do want a dog park in this Borough.
Dog Park for Oakland, NJ Founder
(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.