Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 5, 2013

Trio of dog lovers working toward a doggy getaway

By Rob Cox Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG — Three Greensburg dog-lovers have teamed up in an attempt to bring a dog park to the Tree City.

The Decatur County Animal Shelter has applied for a grant on behalf of Taylor Schwering and fellow Decatur Countians Erica Grote and Kristen Hildebrand to help fund the proposed project.

In a brief phone interview with the Daily News Friday afternoon, Schwering told the Daily News that she, Grote and Hildebrand have worked on the project for about two months on the project. Schwering, who has three dogs of her own, has been contemplating the project for far longer.

The proposed facility would be erected south of the playground at Rebekah Park, near Base Road and would cover between one and two fenced-in acres, with separate areas for larger and smaller dogs.

Schwering and her partners envision a membership system wherein people pay to use the park and would receive an electronic key to gain access.

“The only way to purchase a key would be to provide proof of vaccinations,” Schwering noted. “We want to promote responsible ownership and pet health in the community.”

Additionally, Schwering is also considering ways to encourage people to bring only dogs that are spayed or neutered to “prevent any unexpected puppies in the pet population.”

The project won’t be cheap. Schwering put the estimate for an enclosure fence at $20,000. That amount doesn’t include the cost of the electronic key system, security cameras and other materials.

Schwering characterized funding as the biggest obstacle to bringing the project to fruition, but expects a decision on the grant by year’s end.

“If we don’t get it [the grant] this round,” she said, “we are able to try again the following February.”

The three women have brainstormed, pooled their resources and begun work on fundraising to help pay raise additional funds. The three had a booth at the recently concluded Fall Festival, where they sold homemade baked goods and promoted a second fundraiser, this one a candle sale.

According to Schwering, the trio raised about $250 through their Fall Festival booth. They also collected 230 signatures on a petition asking Fall Festival attendees to sign if they believed such a park would be beneficial for the community.

The trio is currently selling candles for $12 apiece and has set a goal of 150. That fundraiser ends Oct. 11. “That will get us $900 for the park project,” Schwering said.

Schlemmer Wholesale of Greensburg has recently stepped up, too, signing up for WTRE’s monthly birthday promotion and agreeing to donate the proceeds to the dog park efforts.

“Schlemmer is donating money for every birthday and anniversary that is called into WTRE this month [October],” Schwering explained. For an Oct. 13 birthday, for instance, the company will donate 13 cents to Schwering’s efforts, 10 cents for an Oct. 10 birthday and so forth.

Schwering, who works for First Federal Savings and Loan, has set up a donation fund through the bank, too.

“I am extremely pleased with the support we have received from the community,” she said. “I believe so strongly in this community and this project cannot be accomplished with the support of the wonderful residents here.”

For more information on the Rebekah Park Dog Park or to donate to the fundraising effort, call Taylor Schwering at 812-593-8806, Erica Grote at 812-560-3175 or Kristen Hildebrand at 812-614-2606.

Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011