Kids Paint Plaques to Help Dog Park Renovation

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hardy Dog Park got a splash of color in late August thanks to more than 60 children from College Avenue Presbyterian Church's Vacation Bible School summer program. The kids painted dozens of temporary plaques to adorn the park's fence, adding a refreshing vibrancy to the otherwise dreary space.

The campaign generated $7,000 in contributions for Scenic Streets, the local volunteer landscaping group that is leading a renovation of Oakland's oldest and most dilapidated dog park. Dozens of residents and businesses sponsored one of a selection of youthful works of art offered in a choice of bone, fire hydrant and dog shapes.

"During each of our summer sessions, we have the kids participate in community improvement projects," explains Pastor Monte McClain. "Painting plaques to help raise money for the local dog park was a lot of fun for the children and helped them realize they can make a difference in their neighborhood."

Funds raised were matched dollar for dollar by Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, a supporter of Scenic Streets' other nearby landscaping projects as well. Local volunteer Robin Binaoro says the campaign puts the group closer to achieving its goals of improving the safety, access and functionality of the dog park.

Binaoro acknowledged that many plaque sponsors, like himself, don't even own dogs or use the park. "But so many of us drive by it every day and wonder why it has to be such a bleak space," he said. "Residents realized that the improvements we have proposed, such as adding shade loving trees and shrubs to the dog park, will greatly enhance the gateway to Rockridge."

The renovation plans are being reviewed by city officials currently and can be viewed at scenicstreets.org.

by Becky Alseth, local resident