It’s been a dream for three area dog lovers that South Bryan County have its own dog park. Now they’re trying to make that dream come true.
Jane Honnor, owner of PawParazzi pet boutique, Lesley Francis and Wendy Bolton have launched an initiative to build a fenced half-acre dog park in DeVaul Henderson Park.
“So many people in Richmond Hill have dogs. I’ve got all these people coming into the store who love their animals and want to able to exercise their dogs off lead, but they can’t,” said Honnor, who moved to Richmond Hill from Liverpool, England, last year. “There’s no place to do that here, for the dogs to run and play and get the exercise they need.”
Francis, also from England, and Bolton, a longtime Richmond Hill resident, felt the same way. So last month, the three women decided to do something about it.
“We’ve created a petition to gauge community support, and we set up a nonprofit organization,” said Francis. “We are also launching a campaign to raise money. People can donate time, money and materials, and hopefully we’ll be able to afford the set up costs.”
Once the petition — which is posted in several Richmond Hill businesses and currently has around 300 signatures— reaches 1,000 signatures, the group will meet with county officials to discuss the next steps, said Francis.
“We’re hoping that the county will provide the land in Henderson Park, and I think they’re certainly open to it. The land is there, already slotted for a dog park, but it just hasn’t been built yet,” she said.
Bryan County Commissioner Carter Infinger said a dog park is consistent with future plans for Henderson Park.
“It’s in our master plan as we expand the park over the next two years,” he said. “Any external funds that can be raised would be helpful, but it’s too soon to say when we can have it up and running.”
Bolton estimates that initial construction costs will be around $45,000, which includes signage, a fence, waste disposal units and a water station.
“This is something that can develop over the years. If we can get the basic, safe, secure, hygienic dog park, we can keep adding with benches and further landscaping over the years to come,” said Francis. “We want this to be something that’s in the county for decades and that will become a part of the landscape.”
Petitions can be found at businesses around town and also on the group’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SupportADogParkInBryanCounty. For more information, call Jane Honnor at 756-8807.