The Millbrook Exchange Dog Park is in the running to win a $30,000 makeover.
The park, located off of Spring Forest Road in North Raleigh, was one of seven dog parks across the country chosen to participate in the Beneful Dream Dog Park project.
To vote, pet owners must share a photo of their furry friends on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #Raleigh and #BenefulDogPark. Participants can vote once a day until the contest ends Nov. 1.
Raleigh currently has about 39 percent of the vote, putting it in second place behind Indianapolis.
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When the Millbrook dog park opened in 2003, it was the first park in Raleigh to have a place for dogs to roam off leash. Now the city has three dog parks and plans to open two more in the next year.
If Raleigh wins, the money could be used for upgrades like extra benches, shade trees and agility equipment, said Christy Cornell, a senior staff analyst for the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department.
“We’ve never had anything of this sort happen in our department before,” Cornell said.
James Sun, brand manager for the St. Louis-based Beneful team, said his company identified Raleigh for the contest because it wanted to partner with dog parks and cities all across the country. Along with Indianapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City are taking part in this year’s contest.
“Raleigh has been a part of the country where we really haven’t participated,” Sun said.
Beneful, which is a dog food brand owned by Nestle Purina Petcare, has hosted contests since 2010 and has completed 20 dog park projects, he said. This year, it plans to give about $200,000 for projects.
Sun said the company wants to promote dogs’ wellness by giving them a nice place to play.
“We’re just impacting that full life of the dog and the owner,” he said.
Ashley Deans, a resource development manager at Raleigh’s parks department, said the Millbrook dog park has a dedicated base of five to 10 volunteers who help maintain the site.
“They kind of assist with litter pick-up and spreading of wood chips, and they act as our eyes and our ears if anything were to happen at the park,” she said.
Deans said the city and volunteers have been working hard to get the word out about the contest.
“Every vote counts,” she said.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802; @ReporterCioffi