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The Boyd Foundation announced the winners of the 2018 Tennessee Dog Park Dash grant program. Part of a multi-year commitment toward making Tennessee the most pet friendly state, 37 communities will receive funds to build or enhance off-leash dog parks.
In its first year, the program saw an outpouring of support from Tennessee residents, city officials, and 501c3 organizations in the form of local news stories, charitable fundraisers, pet friendly events and social media campaigns. The program received 50 applications, from Tennessee towns with a few thousand residents to urban hubs with populations of more than 100,000.
Grants totaling $1 million will be distributed to 36 communities across Tennessee’s three grand divisions. Each winning community will be awarded $25,000 for a new or improved dog park. One additional community will be awarded the grand prize of $100,000 by best setting an example for how to be pet friendly.
The winning communities for the 2018 Tennessee Dog Park Dash grant are:
● West Tennessee: Bolivar, Brownsville, Camden, Decatur County, Dyersburg, Henderson, Humboldt, Lakeland, McKenzie, Memphis, Milan and Pickwick, Tennessee.
● Middle Tennessee: Gallatin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg, Manchester, McMinnville, Mount Pleasant, Murfreesboro, Spring Hill and White House, Tennessee.
● East Tennessee: Athens, Bristol, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Crossville, Erwin, Greeneville, Jonesborough, Kingsport, Kingston, Morristown, Rogersville, Spring City, Union County, and Jefferson County, Tennessee.
● Grand Prize winner: Jackson, Tennessee. Jackson, Tennessee was selected as the grand prize winner because of the overall vision for and potential impact of its proposed dog park. The community also organized a number of pet fundraisers and local events, while encouraging its citizens, businesses and leaders to showcase pet pride on social media in a consistent and unique manner.
The $25,000 grant funding will be used for improvements to the Murfreesboro Bark Park, located at the General Brag Trailhead. The Bark Park was built in 2006 and has been wildly popular. It has been enjoyed by many over the years, but its popularity has taken a toll on the site. With this donation, the City Parks and Recreation Department plans to add a dog agility course, improved water stations with hardscape pads, a memorial art feature, and other amenities such as benches, leash posts, and improved signage.
“Part of our mission is to provide vibrant public spaces, and this grant will allow for a transformation of the Bark Park, said Murfreesboro Parks & Recreation Director Angela Jackson. "This site provides a place for recreation and wellness not just for the dogs, but for their people. This dog park is one of the social hubs of Murfreesboro, and we are grateful for the opportunity to make improvements.”
To be considered for a Tennessee Dog Park Dash grant, applicants were asked to verify land availability for the proposed park and provide a comprehensive narrative of the community, along with letters of support from civic leaders. Each submission was thoroughly reviewed and scored by a committee on the community’s need for a dog park, the impact a new or improved dog park would have on a community
and each community’s overall support of the project.
Those who applied and were not selected in the first year will maintain grant eligibility in future years. The 2019 Tennessee Dog Park Dash application period is expected to begin in early-spring next year.
Interested communities can learn more by visiting https://dogparkdash.com/ .
About Tennessee Dog Park Dash
The Tennessee Dog Park Dash, funded by the Boyd Foundation, is dedicated to building or enhancing dog parks across the state. Established in 2018, this three-year program is helping to make Tennessee
the most pet-friendly state in America alongside other major efforts from brands including Radio Systems Corporation, parent company of PetSafe®. Dog parks across the state have been built or enhanced through grants and programs first established by PetSafe®, and now through the Dog Park Dash, more than one hundred communities across the state of Tennessee will benefit from dog parks.
More information about the Tennessee Dog Park Dash can be found at dogparkdash.com. Follow on Facebook and Twitter to get involved.