Funding has been doing on for two years for a new dog park which will be located at Rotary Park in Lapeer. The dogs will have it made with a fenced in three acres to roam off their leash, a shade company to cool down under and even their own doggy dish water fountain system.
Rodney Church, the director of the Lapeer Parks and Recreations, said six years ago the Lapeer City Commissioners decided that Lapeer needed a dog park. The city of Lapeer agreed to donate a section of Rotary Park in Lapeer for the dog park, the only problem was Lapeer did not have available funds for the project, so it has become a community-wide fundraiser for the past three years.
“We came up with a design, how much it was going to cost, and then we formed a subcommittee to help fundraise to raise money to build the park,” said Church. “It’s an official 501(c)(3), or a nonprofit organization, known as the Friends of Lapeer Dog Park that I oversee.”
The president of the Friends of Lapeer Dog Park, Troy Bostick-Tullius, said that the group meets the third Tuesday of every month to talk about ways in which they are going to be getting funding. With COVID-19, the club was not able to meet for a while, but they still have been hosting a raffle and the official drawing will take place in September.
“We got our raffle ticket license one week before the stay-at-home order was put into place and we’ve had 1,000 raffle tickets to try to sell,” Bostick-Tullius said. “Facebook has been an excellent way of getting the word out and a lot of people have been using Venmo to buy the $20 tickets, we sold 100 in the first week of it.”
Through a variety of different fundraisers and donations from local businesses, the club has raised around $30,000-$40,000 over the past three years, Church said. The push for funding for the dog park doesn’t stop there though, the club applied for a grant opportunity through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
“The grant basically has you raise a third of the cost of the project on your own and then they do something called crowdfunding,” Church said. “Crowdfunding is basically like a GoFundMe page, you set a goal amount and if you raise your goal amount then they match that amount.”
Church said the club has raised almost a third of the amount needed for the project, if all the tickets are sold for the raffle in September, then they will make $14,000 and they should be able to go ahead with the crowdfunding deal. Although the project is still receiving the funds it needs to open, members of the community such as Trinity Steele, owner of a pet sitting business called The Patriotic Pet, is looking forward to the park if it’s done properly.
“My priority is always the pets so as long as they’re safe and healthy then I’m fine with it being put in,” Steele said. “I think it’s going to be a good resource for the community and in return the dogs, I just hope that it doesn’t turn bad.”
Bostick-Tullius said he is eager to take his three Border collies to the dog park once it is up and running.
“The people in the Friends of the Lapeer Dog Park work hard as a team to raise money and awareness so we can get this park up and running as quickly as possible,” Bostick-Tullius said. “I plan on taking my dogs to the park all the time once it is up and running.”