After three years of fundraising, the final big-ticket item needed to make the South Carroll Dog Park a reality has been funded by Carroll County government.
The Friends of South Carroll Dog Park began raising funds for a dog park in 2016 and have worked closely with Carroll County Department of Recreation and Parks to bring the idea to fruition, according to lead volunteer Kathy Martin.
On Thursday, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved spending $20,000 from the trail development fund for a paved, 400-foot walking trail from the South Carroll Senior & Community Center to the location of the future dog park.
Martin watched the commissioners’ meeting online and said she was “thrilled” to hear the news.
“It’s $20,000 that we won’t have to fund as volunteers," Martin said. “It’s been a grassroots effort for three years.”
The local community has raised approximately $27,000 for the project, according to Martin. She said Friends of South Carroll Dog Park gained much support through its Facebook group, which has 875 members.
Martin suspects the community’s enthusiasm for the park comes from the need for one. The closest dog park is 25 minutes away, according to Martin.
“It’s really needed," she said.
The dog park will span 2 acres and offer a fenced area in which furry friends can run around, plus benches outside the fence on concrete pads. A local realtor will donate seven stations for owners to dispose of dog waste and a local Girl Scout troop is providing agility equipment for the dogs, Martin said.
Jeff Degitz, director of recreation and parks, said there were three major items needed to open the dog park — the walkway, a concrete pad “bullpen” for the entrance to the fenced area, and the fencing itself. The walkway was the last item they had to fund.
“I think it’s going to be a very popular addition to our park system. We’re very excited about it," Degitz said in an interview.
This is not the first time Carroll County has provided funds to the dog park. In 2019, the commissioners approved a self-help project which included a contribution of $18,750 in county funds, according to Degitz. Including the walkway, the county has given $38,750 to the dog park.
Concrete slabs have already been installed at the park and the fence is scheduled to be put in next week, according to Degitz. The county needs to hire a contractor to build the walkway before a completion date can be set, Degitz noted. He said the park’s grand opening will likely be held when the weather is warmer.
The Friends of South Carroll Dog Park group plans to continue fundraising, Martin said, so they can build amenities now that the bare bones of the project have been funded. She hopes they can fence off a separate area for smaller dogs, provide permanent shade structures and access to water.
“They’ll still be fundraising for a while, but I believe we are at a point right now where we can complete those three main phases," Degitz said. “That would allow us to open the park.”
Friends of South Carroll Dog Park is holding a barbecue dinner fundraiser Feb. 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the South Carroll senior center, 5928 Mineral Hill Road, Eldersburg, according to Martin. Rollin’ Smoke BBQ is catering the event and donating 25% of proceeds to the dog park. Volunteers will sell dessert, drinks, and merchandise, for which 100% of proceeds will go to the park.