Where facility might be located to be determined
The campaign to bring a dog park to northwest Harris County took another step forward when a fundraiser hosted by Houston Dog Park Association raised $1,200 for a future public dog park.
HDPA raised $1,000 from a similar event last year.
The Oct. 2 fundraiser, a "dog-and-car wash," was held in cooperation with Barks 5th Avenue, 10620 FM 1960 W. Twelve vendor booths were present, along with representatives from several area rescue groups.
"I think the event was a huge success," said Kristen Woodliff, marketing director for Barks 5th Avenue, which provides dog boarding, grooming and training services.
"We raised more than we expected to."
Houston Dog Park Association is an educational organization that advocates dog parks, facilities designed and built specifically to allow dogs to socialize and exercise off leash.
The Houston area has about 20 of these parks. The closest to the northwest area is Bill Archer Bark Park, 3201 Texas 6.
The group had hoped to support a public dog park project on donated land near Barks 5th Avenue. Now, Tiffany Moore, HDPA board of directors president, said, it looks like the land it had in mind for the park will not be available.
However, Barks 5th Avenue is willing to develop a private dog park on land adjacent to its business, Woodliff said. The site would be available on a fee basis.
"Now it's a matter of HDPA's board to decide whether they want to procure land for a public park or move forward with a private park," Woodliff said.
If a private dog park is developed, Moore said, her association would step forward to help with the planning.
Meanwhile, the money raised from the 2010 and 2009 fundraisers would be held until it can be channeled into a public park project.
The group has a petition link on its website www.houstondogpark.org/ for a northwest Houston dog park.
Moore encourages residents to suggest the idea of a northwest-area dog park to Harris County commissioners for precincts 3 and 4.
The group hopes to approach Harris County Precinct 3 representatives about the possibility of including a dog park in its new park project being planned for Cypresswood Road and Eldridge. The plans do not now call for a dog park, Moore said, but the group hopes to prove that it could help financially with a dog park if it is included in the project.
The money raised could be used toward plans for a dog park, she said. "Right now, the park is still in the planning stages."
Dog parks are worth the investment, Moore said.
"They actually do make humans more active and healthy," she said.
Dog parks also strengthen community ties, she added. Dog owners at an Oak Forest- based dog park, for instance, frequently talk to each other while their dogs play.
"So many people own pets, and they have that common interest," she said.
"And the parks make dogs better neighbors, too. They're well-exercised and well-socialized. Just like we build playgrounds for families with children, dog parks are an amenity for families with dogs. All parks should have them."