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Potsdam joins national contest, seeks dog park funding

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POTSDAM — A $100,000 first-place prize or $25,000 runner-up award is more than enough money to complete the Potsdam Community Dog Park. With support from the community, the park could get the financial boost it needs.

Deborah P. Massell, who coordinates the dog park project, nominated Potsdam for the PetSafe third annual Bark for Your Park contest that started May 7. The nationwide contest is for communities and community leaders to come together with votes for their town or city to win the money to build a dog park.

Fifteen finalists announced June 13 are expected to produce a video supporting their community. The municipality with the most votes will receive $100,000, and four runners-up will get $25,000.

Potsdam, which got a later start than May 7, has until June 7 to collect votes, as do the 1,100 other communities competing.

Meredith E. Schneider, spokeswoman for PetSafe, said Potsdam still could have a fair chance. “Sometimes it’s the smaller communities that really come together to get the votes in,” she said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Potsdam had more than 420 votes. The community with the most votes had 3,600. Last year, the grand prize winner was Texarkana, Texas, with 144,706 votes. Ms. Schneider said the runners-up will be in the population categories of small, medium and large. The fourth runner-up will win the “Bark From Your Heart” prize, which goes to the community with the most votes per capita.

Anyone who wants to vote for Potsdam can vote twice each day, once on the PetSafe Facebook page and once on its website at www.petsafe.net/barkforyourpark.

Construction has started on the Potsdam Community Dog Park. But it still needs $15,000 to be finished. Outstanding work includes parking, fencing, a storage shed and more.

The new park’s design, near the Potsdam Humane Society shelter at 17 Market St., was performed for free by Jeffrey Hodgson of Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architects, Burlington, Vt.

Volunteers have made progress by clearing areas of brush and fallen trees, according to Alicia M. Maynard, director of the Humane Society.

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