Orland Park is moving to the head of the pack. Dog lovers in the village and neighboring communities are encouraged to continue to vote in PetSafe’s Bark for Your Dog Park Contest.
“Right now, Orland Park has moved to second place among 800 cities nationwide as we enter the final week of on-line voting,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “The community’s response has been tremendous and we have a great core group of staff and volunteers who have taken the message to the public,” he added.
PetSafe, a national supplier of pet supplies, will award $100,000 for a dog park to the community with the most local support. PetSafe will announce the 15 finalist cities on June 15.
Once the finalist cities are chosen, they will be asked to create a two-minute video showcasing the town and its pet-friendly environment. Daily voting will continue on PetSafe’s Facebook page and at www.barkforyourpark.com until voting ends on August 1.
“Orland Park’s dog park supporters are second to none,” said Trustee Pat Gira, chair of the village’s Recreation and Parks Committee. “They have been at community events, were in the Orland Days Parade, have a presence at pet adoption events in the area and have really gotten the word out,” Gira said.
“We have people across the country supporting Orland Park’s bid,” McLaughlin said.
One of the criteria to compete this year is to have the local government’s support and available land. Lubbock, Texas, which had been in first place for voting, had to withdraw its bid because they were unable to meet PetSafe’s criteria.
“Some of the people involved in Lubbock’s campaign have pledged their support for Orland Park,” the mayor noted. “Facebook has been a wonderful tool because we’ve been able to reach former Orland Park residents across the country, casting their votes from California, New Mexico and New York and those are just the ones that we know of,” McLaughlin said.
The village has been using its official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VillageofOrlandPark to remind people to vote for the dog park as well as make the public aware of upcoming events and programs. People need not live in Orland Park to vote and, should the village win the contest, the dog park will be free and open to everyone.
“When the fifteen finalist cities are announced, a leader board will be posted and everyone will be able to see how Orland Park fared,” Gira said. “We’re in the final stretch and are calling on everyone to help make this happen for the thousands of dogs in and around Orland Park,” she added.
Four acres at the village’s Centennial Park have been earmarked for a dog park with separate areas for big dogs and little ones. “This is the perfect location for a dog park being close to other park amenities and accessible from the park’s walking trails,” Gira said.
“Orland Park is a well-rounded community with a variety of amenities for our residents,” he added. “Winning this contest would offer an opportunity to establish a safe, enclosed area where dogs could socialize and exercise off leash and could be a wonderful addition to Orland Park,” the mayor said.
To help support the village’s quest for a dog park, visit www.barkforyourpark.com to vote daily and vote on the PetSafe Facebook page. Area businesses willing to distribute flyers or post signs and people willing to volunteer are invited to call the Village of Orland Park Parks Department at 708/403-6219.