Dog Park Friends Start Campaign

CHATTING at the chamber of commerce’s nonprofit fair last week are Toni Williams (left) of Friends of the Buena Vista Dog Park and Christine Hopkins of Rockbride Area Hospice.

CHATTING at the chamber of commerce’s nonprofit fair last week are Toni Williams (left) of Friends of the Buena Vista Dog Park and Christine Hopkins of Rockbride Area Hospice.

Group Hopes To Raise $30,000

Plans for a local dog park are moving forward. The nonprofit organization that’s leading the endeavor has launched a fundraising campaign.

Friends of the Buena Vista Dog Park is seeking to raise $30,000 for fencing, benches, grading for a parking area, signage, maintenance and insurance. A USDA Rural Development grant is being pursued to pay for water fountains. Rockbridge Realtors has been enlisted to search for other grant opportunities.

The dog park is planned for a tree-shaded, 1-acre site across 10th Street from the entrance to Glen Maury Park, between the Maury River and the park’s soccer field. Buena Vista City Council adopted a resolution last summer approving the concept. The city of Buena Vista owns the land, but the site is actually in Rockbridge County.

City and county officials are working together to clear up designated parcels and alleyways associated with the property. A rezoning of the land from R-1, residential general, to C-1, conservation, is to be considered by the county’s Planning Commission.

Friends, an offshoot of the Rockbridge Animal Alliance, had a booth at the chamber of commerce’s nonprofit fair this past Thursday at Devils Backbone. The organization has gained 501c3 nonprofit status so that donations are tax-deductible. Brian Becraft of the Washington and Lee University Community Law Clinic managed the application to the IRS.

Those wishing to make a contribution can do so at or send a check to Friends of Buena Vista Dog Park, P.O. Box 1037, Buena Vista, VA 24416. To find out more, e-mail Friends at

The timetable for the opening of the dog park is dependent on the success of fundraising. “If things progress as hoped,” said Molly Mc- Cluer of Friends, “we would like to open in late spring.”

Numerous Rockbridge area residents have been trying to establish a dog park for about three years. Lexington City Council and the Virginia Horse Center were both approached previously but an acceptable site was proving elusive until contact was made last year with Buena Vista city officials.

After the park opens, said McCluer, “One of our biggest challenges will be to put together a strong, reliable group of volunteers who will be ‘park greeters’ – who can be on site to welcome dogs and their owners, to answer questions, help explain park policies and chat about dog life. We will also have an ongoing need for people to help with odd needs like repairs. Everyone will be responsible, of course, for cleaning up after your dog.”

Explaining why a dog park will be such a nice amenity for the community, Friends board member Allan Griffith commented, “There’s not much a dog loves more than a trip in the car. But when Rover knows that car is headed for ‘the park,’ the one with all his friends, the fur flies. And dog owners know that they share a common thread and appreciation with their counterparts that often leads to new friendships and business contracts.

“So, follow your dog’s lead. She knows what’s best for both of you!”

The News-Gazette

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