NEW TAMPA Most dog owners treasure their furry friends for the wholeness they bring to their lives.
Companionship, loyalty and unconditional love of rank high among the reasons canines are so valued by their masters.
Like all family members, man’s best friend requires a fair amount of care to be happy and healthy, including daily exercise.
New Tampa dog owners without large fenced yard basically have only one option to keep their good buddies physically fit – they have to put them on leashes and walk them around the block.
The Rotary Club of New Tampa, however, has plans in the works that will give dog owners another choice.
They’ve partnered with the City of Tampa to build a one-acre dog park adjacent to the New Tampa Recreation Center and Skate Park at 17302 Commerce Park Blvd., about one-quarter mile from Freedom High and Liberty Middle schools.
The Rotary club has launched a fundraising campaign to help fund the project, which will, when completed, include fenced and divided separate areas for small and large dogs. Within the grassed and tree-shaded park there also will be doggie drinking fountains, a doggie waste receptacle, picnic tables and park benches for use by the dog owners.
The organization is asking dog lovers to purchase bricks intended to line both sides of the paved entrance to the dog park.
Bricks are available in sizes 4-by-8-inches and 8-by-8-inches and can be engraved with the name or names of a favorite pet or pets.
The cost for the smaller brick is $50 for one, $90 for two and $120 for three. The larger is $100 for one, $180 for two and $240 for three bricks. They may be ordered by visiting www.rotarydogpark.org.
“Our goal is to raise $25,000 so that we can have a premier dog park for New Tampa residents,” said Peter P. Gambacorta, president of the Rotary Club of New Tampa, who noted $5,000 has already been raised.
The money garnered from the sale of the bricks will be matched by the City of Tampa.
Rotary club members also are seeking sponsors. In return their names will be listed on a professionally designed sign at the entrance to the park, according to New Tampa Rotary Club member Joyce Gunter, chairperson of the dog park committee. Details are available on the dog park website.
Gambacorta said the club’s objective is to raise the money by the end of September in an effort to break ground in October and open the dog park by Thanksgiving.
“We need the help of all New Tampa dog lovers,” he said.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]