The Village of Orland Park is vying again for a PetSafe dog park, having placed seventh in the nation in 2011. Everyone is encouraged to “bark for Orland Park” in the PetSafe “Bark for Your Dog Park Contest.” The national pet supplier will award $100,000 for a dog park to the community with the most local support.
“Orland Park needs a dog park,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “The residents are enthusiastic about participating in the PetSafe contest and everyone is invited to lend their support in what has truly become a community wide effort.”
The mayor was the first to nominate Orland Park on the PetSafe website, posting his comments when voting opened on May 1. A dog park is currently slated for consideration in the village’s Capital Improvement Plan for the year 2013.
“The village’s Parks Department has taken the lead on this year’s campaign,” said Trustee Patricia Gira, chair of the village’s Recreation and Parks Committee. “We learned from last year’s bid when we placed in the top ten nationwide and everyone is doing their part to get the word out,” Gira said.
The contest began on May 1 and ends July 31 with nominations closing on June 13. Finalist cities will be notified June 15 when the finalist voting period begins. Towns that make it to the final round must submit videos for which the public will vote through July 31. The prize winning cities will be announced August 3, 2012.
Everyone is invited to support Orland Park’s quest by voting for the village at www.barkforyourpark.com. People can vote twice a day, once on the PetSafe website and also on the company’s Facebook page.
McLaughlin has declared May 19 through May 25 “Bark For Your Park Week” in the Village of Orland Park, calling on the community to help win a dog park for the village.
“During ‘Bark For Your Park Week’, we will have volunteers hosting voting stations at Orland Square, Best Buy, Fetch Dog Boutique, at the mayor’s Senior Spring Coffee and other locations,” Gira said.
PetSafe will evaluate community support based on the information provided about each nominated city. The fifteen finalists are chosen by community support, the availability of land and resources and overall impact to the city.
“We have land earmarked in Centennial Park for the village’s dog park. It’s close enough to other amenities and is accessible via the walking trails,” Gira said. “That’s a big part of this year’s contest,” she added. “Participating towns must prove that they have the land, that they have civic leaders’ support and that the campaign has been covered by the local media,” Gira said.
“This is truly a community wide effort,” McLaughlin said. “Orland Park’s Best Buy has stepped up with volunteers. Help is coming in from the local groups. We have civic groups taking the initiative and volunteers are all working together,” he said.
Best Buy is supplying computers for the public to use to vote and volunteers will host an informational voting booth at the Orland Park Lions Club’s annual Orland Days Celebration.
According to the Cook County Department of Animal Control, there are nearly 7000 dogs registered to Orland Park addresses in the 60462 and 60467 zip codes.
“That’s about one dog per every ten homes in Orland Park,” Gira said. “That, coupled with the number of pet supply stores --- about 25 within a ten mile radius --- shows that Orland Park is a dog lover’s community,” she added.
“Orland Park is a great place for a dog park. We’re inviting dog lovers from throughout the region to help Orland Park in the contest,” said Parks Director Frank Stec. “We need nominations and votes from everyone --- individuals, civic groups, the media, local leaders --- everyone.”
“Orland Park is a well-rounded community with a number of amenities for our residents," McLaughlin said, adding, “A dog park at Centennial Park would give all dogs a safe, enclosed area where they could socialize and exercise off leash. It would be a great addition to all that the Village of Orland Park offers.”
Those wanting to help with the Village of Orland Park’s efforts are invited to call the Parks Department at 708/403-6219.
The Village of Orland Park has earmarked four acres in its Centennial Park for the creation of a dog park, along the walking paths behind Ballfields 6 and 7. Plans call for separate areas for big and little dogs with fountains, agility equipment, trees for shade, benches for owners and eventually a dog beach at the adjacent Lake Sedgewick.