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Fundraiser brings in $14k for Bark Park
Laura and Louis Renbaum
Laura and Louis Renbaum check out bids for silent auction items Thursday night during the Bryan County Bark Parks second annual Wine and Cheese Fundraiser at the Richmond Hill City Center. - photo by Julia Harison

Dog enthusiasts came together to Thursday night in support of the Bryan County Bark Park — the county’s first and future dog park currently under construction in Henderson Park.

The second annual wine and cheese event held at the Richmond Hill City Center was complete with themed silent auctions, a live auction, food, unique cocktails and live music.

“We are having a great time here at the City Center,” Lesley Francis, Bryan County Bark Park nonprofit organization secretary, said Thursday. “Many, many individuals and businesses from Richmond Hill and Savannah have sponsored us and provided a lot of items for the auction, bought tickets, and we are just overwhelmed with the support.

“We believe if the evening goes as well as we hoped that we will open the Bark Park this summer.”

And go well the evening did. With more than 100 guests in attendance, including special canine guests Gaston, a Doberman pincher, and Lady, a poodle, the group was able to raise $14,000 — exceeding the group’s goal of $12,000, Francis said.

She noted one of the park’s first sponsorships was a bench to be placed in the park purchased with a $750 donation by 204 Animal Hospital of Savannah.

“We have our first bench for the park, which is very exciting,” she said.

Founded two years ago, the Bryan County Bark Park Association has been working hard to make the park a reality. With 1.5 acres within Henderson Park provided by the Bryan County Board of Commissioners, it has been the association’s responsibility to clear and prepare the land, as well as construct fencing and any other needed structures.

Bark Park Association vice president Jan Honnor said Mother Nature has been slowing thing down.

“We were planning to put in the fence in the next couple of weeks, but the weather has not been good to us,” she said. “The land is being cleared down there, and the surveys are about to be done, but (putting up the) fence is really depending on the weather now. It is really boggy down there at the moment, and we have to put drainage in so we are able to drain the land for it to dry out.”

Wendy Bolton, association president, agreed the weather has been the park’s biggest obstacle. But she noted there are lots of ways for dog lovers to help the Bark Park continue moving forward.

“One can go to our website,, and there are many, many ways to support the park,” she said. “You can make a general donation, you can purchase a brick or a paver. If you are looking for something larger, we have some pretty amazing benches available for $750. It’s pretty much anything on there from $50 to a few thousand dollars. There is something for everyone to pitch in to help.”

Bolton said this is the first year the association has had sponsorships available.

“The response has been amazing,” she said. “We had so many different members from the community step up. It has been really encouraging and heartwarming to have so much of the community pull together and make this amazing thing happen.”

Steve Meyers, a Bark Park association member and Bryan County Commissioner, said he was excited to see the park move forward.

“This is a great collaboration between the county government and a group of citizens who want to build a great facility for animals. I have two dogs, which I love to death, (so I) jumped on board and am looking forward to have it open this summer. “

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