EDITORIAL: Let’s ‘bark for our park’

May. 14, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

During a recent meeting, the Sanford City Council heard that some projects made possible with municipal bonds were progressing ahead of schedule — several beating the projection by a year.

That’s a welcome update for anyone wanting to see an improved quality of life for residents and visitors.

And as it turns out, good news could be coming for the city’s four-legged inhabitants, too.

As a contender in the Petsafe “Bark for Your Park” contest, Sanford stands to gain either $100,000 or $25,000 to build a dog park. Supporters can vote online at http://bit.ly/1iuV946 twice a day every day, with the entry voting period ending June 7 and the finalist voting period running from June 13 through July 31.

Proponents have been raising funds for a park with activities like September’s “Splash ‘n’ Bark” event, and reportedly have raised a little over half of the necessary funding. This win would put them well over the top.

And this is an endeavor worthy of the community’s backing.

Even those without a four-legged friend would reap the rewards of such a project — especially a reduction in destructive, even dangerous, behaviors. As one advocate pointed out this week, a well-exercised dog is more manageable, and therefore a better neighbor, than a canine with no outlet.

And where dogs socialize, humans are bound to interact, too — making for a more caring, connected community. Pet guardians can mingle, learn from each other, plan doggy playdates and enjoy a relatively safe place for themselves and their companions to bond.

As supporters also noted, those without the benefit of their own yard have precious few places within a reasonable distance where their furry charges can expend energy.

Dozens of other cities want such a place — as evidenced by the number of communities across the country vying for the PetSafe prize. Aside from its $100,000 award, the company also will be giving four other finalist cities $25,000 each. According to the contest rules, the runner-up city in each small, medium and large population category also will win $25,000. The “Bark From Your Heart” city, with the highest percentage of votes to the city’s population, also will win $25,000.

Sanford faces some formidable competition for the project, but hardly insurmountable. After all, we were victorious in the Main Street Matters contest not so long ago, winning a downtown makeover courtesy of paint company Benjamin Moore.

If Sanford rallies around a cause, nothing is out of reach. So we encourage you to vote early and often.