The Millbrook Exchange Dog Park is getting a $30,000 makeover.
The park off Spring Forest Road in North Raleigh was one of seven chosen to compete in a nationwide competition sponsored by Beneful, a dog food brand owned by Nestle Purina Petcare. It sat in second place behind an Indianapolis park for much of the contest, but the company has announced that Millbrook rallied late to win.
“This lucky dog park received the most #BenefulDogPark votes and will be receiving a $30,000 donation from Beneful,” the website said. “Additionally, Millbrook Dog Park will receive a dog park equipment donation valued at up to $5,000 and hands-on volunteer support from the Beneful Dream Dog Park team.”
To vote, pet owners shared a photo of their furry friends on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #Raleigh and #BenefulDogPark. Participants were allowed to vote once per day between mid-September and Nov. 1.
Even though Indianapolis wasn’t the top vote-getter, contest organizers were struck by residents’ enthusiasm and decided to give the city a $15,000 donation anyway, contest spokeswoman Nicholle Lyons said.
Other cities in the contest were Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City.
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.
Today the city has three dog parks and plans to open two more in the next year. At Millbrook, the park has a dedicated base of five to 10 volunteers who help maintain the site.
“We have such a strong dog park community here, and they are really the ones to thank for helping us to make this happen,” said Cara McLeod, marketing and communications coordinator for the Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department.
The money could be used for upgrades like extra benches, shade trees and agility equipment, but McLeod said the city has not made any decisions yet on how exactly it will spend the money.
Beneful said it plans to work with the City of Raleigh to schedule and announce a volunteer day and to decide when the donated equipment will be installed.
“Right now we’re looking at the requirements for the money and taking a look at the funding and what it can be used for,” McLeod said.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi