It’s often said that something is better than nothing.
Well, the organizers of the Camellia City Bark Park certainly aren’t stopping at just “something,” but they do have an early surprise for the community on Saturday.
A temporary dog park is coming to Slidell, through a cooperative agreement between the city of Slidell, Leadership Northshore and Petsmart.
It’s called a “pop-up park,” or a “PUP,” for short.
And by the way, how handy is that handle, eh?
The PUP will be established at Fritchie Park in south Slidell. It comes by way of a container car filled with stuff from the Petsmart superstore. Inside will be enough metal fencing to enclose 1,400 square feet. The package also includes four benches, four doggy “mess area” clean-up stations and more.
The Petsmart team has a contractor who will unload and assemble the equipment, said Amanda Hover, of Leadership Northshore, which spearheaded the Bark Park effort.
The PUP comes at no cost to Leadership Northshore or the city.
The temporary park will be set up on a 3.5-acre parcel at 901 Howze Beach Road, which has been partially cleared for a permanent dog park.
The grand opening of the PUP will begin at noon Saturday. City leaders, Petsmart representatives and members of the Leadership group will speak and also will participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Hover said the gathering should be very informal and quick and that refreshments will be served, courtesy of Raising Cane’s.
Other Leadership Northshore members who have worked on the Camellia City Bark Park are Lee Cosgrove, John Gallaher, Jesse Lamonte and Rachel Perez.
“This is a cooperative effort,” Hover said. “As far as I know, only one had been done before through Petsmart when we found out about it. We will be the fourth or fifth in the U.S., I believe. It’s a great opportunity for us. We still have the plan in place to build a permanent facility, but this allows us to drum up support now: to get people interested in our fundraisers and in sponsorships.”
The past couple years have been spent raising money and awareness about the dog park. There have been tailgating “pawtys” following the Krewe de Paws parade, as well as numerous restaurant nights, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the cause.
Those events will continue until the Leadership group has checked everything off its wish list, Hover said.
She cited the socialization benefits for both people and pooches through facilities such as dog parks.
“Dogs like to run, and there’s a leash law in the city of Slidell,” she said. “So this is a place where dogs can run free. And, of course, people also can be free to interact, too.”
A major positive of the PUP is that when the permanent park is funded and ready for use, the temporary park can be moved to another area in Slidell, giving the Camellia City an additional public space where pooches can roam freely.
“We’re really excited about what we have now with the PUP, and we’re moving forward to get a permanent park built,” Hover said.
The Camellia City Bark Park team seeks monetary donations and in-kind donations to help complete the vision of a permanent facility adjacent to Fritchie Park.
For information, visit slidelldogpark.org or check out the Camellia City Bark Park page on Facebook. You also can call (985) 643-2599 to pledge your support.
Andrew Canulette covers recreation and leisure activities for the St. Tammany Advocate. To reach him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.