Group gathers support for northwest dog park
A group of dog lovers say they have located a prime spot for the first public dog park in northwest Harris County and are sending out an appeal to neighbors to help them in their quest to develop a quality canine recreational facility.
The Houston Dog Park Association is partnering with Barks 5th Avenue, a pet care facility on FM 1960 near Jones Road, to bring that vision to life.
We are extremely excited, because there are no public dog parks in this part of town," said Nathalie Bland, a Houston Dog Park Association board member. There is a huge gap we are trying to fill."
The preliminary park plan involves converting a concrete-laden, fenced-in, one-acre parcel next to Barks 5th Avenue's storefront in the Cypress Plaza shopping center into a dog park with grass, new fencing and a divider for a small dog area, double entry gates, benches, shade covers, and activity features for dogs and their owners to enjoy.
Barks 5th Avenue leases that one-acre plot, which most recently was occupied by a landscape
nursery business. As the major sponsor for the proposed park, the leased land would be used for the park project at no cost.
Kristen Wood, Barks 5th Avenue's marketing manager, said employees would volunteer at the park and would offer advice to dog owners on dog socialization and park etiquette skills and techniques. It would be a supervised dog park, she said.
Bland, who owns the Call To Doody Waste Removal Service, said she has worked at dog parks all around Houston and Harris County, and has learned what works and what does not work.
We are not short of ideas we just need people who want this as much as we do," Bland said. The sooner we raise the money, the sooner we can get moving."
Tiffany Moore, HDPA's president, said about $15,000-$20,000 needs to be raised to fund the initial phase of the project. From there, all funds raised will go toward enhancing the dog park plan.
We are open to all alternatives," Moore said. We are just so excited to see this opportunity come along."
Future goals include expanding the dog park to the north by adding, through an easement agreement, a one-acre strip of greenspace owned by Centerpoint Energy. On a much larger scale, Moore said, the park would be greatly enhanced if an individual, company or organization would be willing to purchase the 22-plus-acre Mulligans Golf property for sale to the north of the site.
Moore said there is already ample parking for the dog park in the Cypress Plaza shopping center, which has some vacant stores and some retail businesses that are open primarily in the evening.
We are concentrating now on the first phase, and are just getting started," Moore said. We had the Northwest Dog Park Kick-Off meeting Friday night (June 11) and were very happy to have six volunteers sign up to be on the committee."
That Friends of the Northwest Dog Park Program Committee will plan and execute the project, and any associated fundraising activities.
What we need most right now are people who are passionate about dog parks who can serve on the committee, and we need to raise funds," Moore said. We have several naming opportunities associated with the park and are seeking in-kind donations of all types."
The first major fundraiser the 1960 Barking Lot Fundraiser is scheduled for Oct. 2 in the Cypress Plaza parking lot at 10620 FM 1960.
The Houston Dog Park Association, Barks 5th Avenue and the Friends Committee are organizing the event. The two organizations are a good fit because they share the same core mission and goals: the promotion of a well-balanced life for all dogs; advocacy for more dog parks in the Houston region, and in particular, northwest Harris County; and raising awareness for responsible pet ownership, Moore said.
The nonprofit Houston Dog Park Association was formed in 1998 and was instrumental in lobbying for the opening of several city and county public dog parks in the Houston region.
After the Millie Bush Dog Park opened in west Harris County, people began to see how popular they were, Moore said. Soon 25 were located around the Houston region, but none in northwest Harris County. The association began to advocate for new dog parks, and for maintenance and new facilities in existing dog parks.
Moore said she was particularly keen on seeing a dog park open in northwest Harris County, which is where she lives. She said others feel the same way.
We have 444 petition signatures online at www.ipetitions.com
petition/nwdogpark/signatures and another 500 on paper supporting a northwest area dog park," Moore said.