Dog Park: May 2017 Update

Since the last update, many things have been set into motion to try and bring a dog park to Oakland. Now mainly, its up to all of you to help make this a reality.

Since the last Facebook note in mid-2016, the dog park location has been moved slightly in the property. It was determined in mid-summer 2016 that to move the process to get a dog park along faster than it would have otherwise at the original location, the proposed location of the dog park has moved away from the corner of the Great Oak Property (closest to Shoprite by the colored Great Oak Park sign), up more into the right middle portion of the park. The new proposed location is right off of the old Muller’s Park driveway where it would turn left from its entrance path more into the park itself.

Map of the area and proposed parts of Great Oak Park.

For further perspective to help you out, if I stand where the large dog park would go facing north, the proposed great lawn and band shell would be in front of me at 12 o’clock, the Pond’s cemetery would be at 1-2 o’clock, the end of the parking lot by the office building between the two Portobello’s would be at 3-4 o’clock, Rt. 202 and the proposed skate park would be between 6 and 8 o’clock, and the rest of the park would be between 9 and 11 o’clock.

Again, I was fortunate to have the assistance of landscaper Jordan Glaser of Glaser Landscapes to create a simple diagram showing the proposed layout of the dog park at its new location. While a more detailed drawing may be required later on, this current diagram will suffice for what the Park Committee wants at this present time. So thanks again to Jordan for his assistance!

The current diagram for the proposed dog park at Great Oak Park.


Mr. Miller and I in December 2016 with the finished letter and envelope.

I also had received a very basic approval from the Mayor and Council that I was allowed to proceed with planning and start fundraising. However, the Mayor and Council still need to formally approve a dog park, as well as other Phase II projects, before actual work can begin. The Borough wants to see that enough funds have been raised and a plan and design is in place before giving any formal approvals. It was then over the fall 2016 months that I started to draft and have the necessary people review a proposed fundraising letter to officially kick-start the dog park campaign. In December, I received the approvals I needed from Park Committee, Oakland Borough, and SAO individuals and had the funds ready to go to do a targeted mailing of businesses, grant giving groups, animal organizations, and local individuals to raise awareness and ask for funds to go towards this effort. A thanks to Mr. Gregg Miller at the Wyckoff Sir Speedy for his assistance and support to help get the mailing out as soon as possible before the year’s end while also making sure money being spent on the mailings would not be wasted.
Currently, a total of about $12,000 has been raised since the very end of December for the dog park efforts. When not looking for places of employment this summer (as I just graduated college), I plan to follow up these letters with visits to local businesses in town to make a personal appeal for their support. In addition, I am working with the Sports Association of Oakland (SAO) and an individual who has volunteered his services for free, to help find and apply for grants that could help the efforts to get a dog park in Oakland. We have already identified one or two grants that we believe we have a decent shot at, however, I am remaining cautiously optimistic: this is year 8 in this project journey after all! I have also reached out and have met with a few local businesses and individuals who may want to get involved in donating their services or their applicable business involved in the dog park project. In doing so, I continue to gather information about potential actual costs overall and potentially how much it would cost us in the end if they are willing to give a discount and work with me for the betterment of our community.

Presently, the biggest area of need is two-fold: raising enough money through actual donations and grants, and two, whatever I don’t raise in straight donations, making up for that in donations of labor and materials. Essentially, if I have lots of donations coming in the form of labor and materials, less money will need to be raised; likewise if fewer donations of labor and materials come in, more grants and donations will be required to pay for the work that will need to be done.

Proposed large dog park area.

Proposed small dog park area.

If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering, donating, or offering a service, please let me know by emailing me at or messaging the page. If you are also interested in hosting a fundraiser to benefit the dog park effort at your house, in an event space, etc. please let me know. Due to my time being occupied doing so many other things, I don’t have much free time to thoroughly plan and organize events or fundraisers so I am kindly asking for people to step up and take initiative on their own! However, please know that I am more than willing to assist you where I can, spread the word, and give you the information you need so a successful fundraiser for the dog park can be had.

Lastly, I have launched a new website for the dog park: [] !

Here you can find the latest news, some videos and images, a form to contact me, and the link in order to donate. Please share this with your friends and family to get the word out and I hope we can hit the next big milestone in the “fundraising bone chart” sooner than later!

Thank you all again for your interest, prayers, and support. I have heard that many of you have even written letters along with your donations and I am told those will be given to me soon by members of the SAO so I look forward to reading them.

Ryan Schwertfeger