The city wants your input on how it should spend a $30,000 prize earmarked for upgrading the Millbrook Exchange Dog Park.
The park, off Spring Forest Road in North Raleigh, was the top vote-getter in a nationwide competition sponsored by Beneful, a dog food brand owned by Nestle Purina Petcare.
Raleigh will host two “listening sessions” in May to find out what dog-park users want to spend the money on, said Wayne Schindler, superintendent of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department.
The sessions will be at 6 p.m. on May 4 and May 25 at the Millbrook Exchange Community Center, 1905 Spring Forest Road.
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Raleigh sat in second place behind an Indianapolis park for much of the contest, but Raleigh ultimately got enough votes to win the $30,000 grand prize, the company announced in November. To vote, pet owners had to share a photo of their furry friends on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #Raleigh and #BenefulDogPark.
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, after 14 years, the parks department hopes to repair some drainage issues and get new equipment like benches. And it wants to know what people who regularly use the park want to see there, Schindler said.
“It’s got some wear and tear so we were hoping to do some renovations along with what kind of enhancements that the dog park advocates would like to see,” Schindler said.
On Thursday at 9:45 a.m., Beneful will formally hand over the money to Schindler’s department in a kickoff ceremony at the dog park, said Courtney Heger a member of the St. Louis-based Beneful team.
The company has also promised to donate some agility equipment that will be added to the updated park, she said.
Heger, who will be in Raleigh to present the check, said the company hopes its donation will promote dogs’ wellness by giving them a nice place to play.
“We really believe that dog parks and dogs are important for communities,” she said. “But also it’s something we’re passionate because it brings communities together.”