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Q&A With Leslie Durham
Marketing Manager, Richmond Hill City Center and Bark Park volunteer extraordinaire
Leslie Durham

Q: How long have you lived in Richmond Hill?
A: I have lived here a year and a half. We are a military family and we moved here from Valencia, Spain, where we were stationed for a few years until my husband was assigned to Ft. Stewart.

Q: How long have you been involved with the Bryan County Bark Park?
A: I just got involved with the dog park a few months ago, after speaking with Lesley Francis, one of the board members.

Q: Do you have dogs?
A: I have one dog – a 10-year-old black lab/whippet mix named Bacchus.

Q: Why do you care about the park?
A: I think it’s a wonderful place for people to come together with their furry family members and socialize with other dogs. It is so beneficial for those dogs, which don’t have yards to play in, have a place of their own to play with their owners and get the exercise they need for healthy lives. Also, I love being a part of something that will have long lasting benefits for a community and help families make the decision to adopt or foster dogs.

Q: Are you involved in the upcoming fundraising event?
A: The evening of Saturday, March 21, will see the Bark Park’s third annual fundraiser take place at the Richmond Hill City Center. Bryan’s Bash – Dinner & Drinks will be ‘pawsitively’ fun and will help raise vital funds to keep the Bark Park open at Henderson Park and hopefully begin planning for phase two to open later this year. The event begins at 6.30 p.m. with dinner and drinks – two drink tickets are included in the event ticket price of $60 per person. Live music will be performed by talented local musician, Roger Widener and a cash bar will be available featuring special dog-themed cocktails – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. In addition to donating the space for the event, the City Center is donating 20 percent of every cocktail sold back to the Bark Park.

Q: How has the Dog Park impacted Richmond Hill?
A: The Bark Park has definitely changed Richmond Hill for the better. Dog owners get to let their dogs run free and meet other dogs, which is vital for socialization. People have reported that they can now give a home to a shelter dog because there is somewhere they can take their dogs to exercise off leash. The fact that our community has joined together to raise the money for this facility is awesome.

Q: Is there a Dog Park committee?
A: There is a tireless board including founding members Wendy Bolton, president, who has given so much of herself to make the Bark Park a reality, Lesley Francis, secretary and publicist, and Kim Stefan, treasurer. We can’t leave out Dell Keith, vice president, and Kyle Christiansen, who serves as director. Volunteers on the auction/fundraising committee include myself, Karen Stack and Jean Iaderosa.

Q: Who owns the park?
A: Bryan County owns the land and has given the Bark Park, a 501(c)3 organization usage of this land. However this free community facility is currently still responsible for all the costs associated with building and maintaining of the dog park. There is a $20,000 funding gap to close which was incurred during the building of the park. It was $68,000 to build which includes the drainage, preparing the site, providing a 600 foot handicapped accessible walkway from the parking lot.

Q: Who manages the park?
A: Board members and volunteers. The county has kindly agreed to empty the garbage cans.

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